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

Latest posts by Dr. Elijah Clark (see all)

Cite this article:
Dr. Elijah Clark (February 17, 2015). Selling the Vision [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://elijahclark.com/selling-vision/