Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark
    by Dr. Elijah Clark

A vision is common in most major leadership theories and it can be defined as an end-state or description of the future (Ilies, Judge, & Wagner, 2006). Visions are generally focused on building innovation and creating change (Ilies, Judge, & Wagner, 2006; James, & Lahti, 2011). Visions are considered to represent idealized future states of what is desired and not what currently is (James, & Lahti, 2011). A vision is said to represent shared values and can often have an ethical overtone (Ilies, Judge, & Wagner, 2006; James, & Lahti, 2011). An effective vision is based on organizational purpose (Mayfield, Mayfield, & Sharbrough, 2015). All visions must incorporate a goal, and many consider a vision paramount to strategies and processes (Ilies, Judge, & Wagner, 2006). An organizational vision is defined as an ideological goal that organizations, members, and leaders are morally satisfied in pursuing (James, & Lahti, 2011). A vision should translate the organizations strategies, which can then be translated into achievable goals (James, & Lahti, 2011).

Leaders with compelling visions can provide a sense of purpose and meaning to followers (James, & Lahti, 2011). A leaders’ vision can effect the goals of an organization, considering it has an effect on the direction of action, intensity of effort, and effort persistency (Mayfield, Mayfield, & Sharbrough, 2015). Leaders often use visions to motivate and persuade followers to pursue tasks goals with passion (James, & Lahti, 2011). Effective leaders with visions have been shown to significantly have an impact on followers’ creativity, inspiration, achievement, team innovation, and organizational performance (James, & Lahti, 2011; Mayfield, Mayfield, & Sharbrough, 2015). Furthermore, vision inspiration can promote positive organizational outcomes, change, and performance (James, & Lahti, 2011). Transformational leaders particularly may be best for motivating and appealing to followers’ common ideals and ethical values (Ilies, Judge, & Wagner, 2006). Transformational leaders may use emotional aspects and gestures to communicate their vision and build commitment (Ilies, Judge, & Wagner, 2006). Leaders can better achieve visions by engaging followers and creating a shared organizational vision with followers (Mayfield, Mayfield, & Sharbrough, 2015). Leaders can promote organizations change through articulating a clear vision and promoting a strong relationship between followers that influences them to accept the vision (Ilies, Judge, & Wagner, 2006; James, & Lahti, 2011; Mayfield, Mayfield, & Sharbrough, 2015).

Visions should be well communicated by leaders and are more likely to be consensually shared by leaders and followers when social exchange and agreement occurs (Mayfield, Mayfield, & Sharbrough, 2015). It is not enough for a leader to simply have a vision, they must also know how to bring the vision into fruition (Ilies, Judge, & Wagner, 2006; Mayfield, Mayfield, & Sharbrough, 2015). It is the leaders responsibility to provide followers with a road map to achieve goals that will fulfill visions. This can be done by motivation and creating challenging goals (Ilies, Judge, & Wagner, 2006).



Ilies, R., Judge, T., & Wagner, D. (2006). Making Sense of Motivational Leadership: The Trail from Transformational Leaders to Motivated Followers. Journal Of Leadership & Organizational Studies (Baker College), 13(1), 1-22. doi: 10.1177/10717919070130010301

James, K., & Lahti, K. (2011). Organizational Vision and System Influences on Employee Inspiration and Organizational Performance. Creativity & Innovation Management, 20(2), 108-120. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8691.2011.00595.x

Mayfield, J., Mayfield, M., & Sharbrough, W. C. (2015). Strategic Vision and Values in Top Leaders’ Communications: Motivating Language at a Higher Level. Journal Of Business Communication, 52(1), 97-121. doi:10.1177/2329488414560282

Dr. Elijah Clark

Dr. Elijah Clark

Elijah is a business management consultant. He writes about business marketing, development, branding, technology, and how to develop and use marketing strategies and techniques effectively.
Dr. Elijah Clark
Cite this article:
Dr. Elijah Clark (February 17, 2015). Selling the Vision [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://elijahclark.com/selling-vision/