I just came back from touring Israel with a very interesting observation related to leadership.
What’s one of the things we like to do when visiting a new place on vacation? To take pictures
Who am I kidding? These days, people are even taking pictures of what they are having for lunch on a regular day at their common dining place.
Look at the picture above. Other than my lousy attempt at a selfie, what do you see? What does the picture tell you? What does it mean to you?
It probably doesn’t mean much. No surprise.
Throughout the 12 day adventure, I took about 600 pictures. I’m sure others took double that. And like any tour, there are always those who like to take their time to take pictures of everything. Which leads to the guide having keep finding ways to force everyone to move forward so we can make all the planned stops. Here’s where it gets interesting. The stragglers start complaining about the rushed pace, mainly because there isn’t enough time to take pictures.
Here’s my question: what’s more important, having the picture or experiencing the moment?
I noticed that some, including myself, started focusing on getting the perfect picture rather than experiencing the moment. In my rush to make memorabilia, I actually forgot to create a memory.
Look at the picture again.
The image probably gives you a lot of detail about the weather, the dimensions of the wall, the number of people present, the colors, and the apparel. Yet, there’s no way for you to know how it felt to be in a place that is one of most importance for all believers…the wailing wall.
The picture doesn’t express the energy surrounding the area, the sounds setting the mood for the entire experience, the effort it took to get there, or what it means to be in such place.
The picture alone is incomplete; and it’s not what matters most.
What does this have to do with leadership?
We are taught that one of the most important tasks of leaders is to paint the picture of the future. This would be the equivalent to describing the image above.
But describing it is not enough.
In order for the vision to be effective, a leader must be able to place his/her followers in the middle of the event. They have to be able to see, feel, and experience what it is to be in that place. In other words, I have to help you imagine the entire moment as if you were in attendance.
A vision must be described in such a way that leaves people believing they are already there.