Every leader encounters a time when despite their best efforts to inspire others to buy-in to their vision, they don’t feel enough people are paying attention. When this occurs it is time to stop, reevaluate, realign, re-prioritize and begin anew with a positive attitude. However, if may be difficult to motivate yourself because the prevailing thought in your mind is “why bother if no one is listening?”
So to refocus your thinking in a positive manner you need to do the following things to get you back on track.
Talk to your mentor – Go back to the person you confide in and tell them how you feel. They will provide you an honest assessment of your situation. Tell them of your efforts to achieve your vision, your successes, your failures and your plan to continue. Ask them to help you to evaluate your plan and provide you advice on how to proceed. You should leave this meeting with a better attitude because you needed someone to listen; a good mentor is a good listener.
Talk to your inner circle – With a preliminary adjusted plan in hand, meet with your leadership inner circle and discuss it with them. Together go over the vision, the goals and the action plans you all originally agreed upon. Determine what is working, what is not and make the necessary changes to continue toward the vision.
Talk to the influencers in your organization – These are people whose opinions are respected by a large number of followers. Discuss your vision again, share with them your revised plan and ask them for their thoughts. Spend more time listening than talking. If they agree with the vision and the plan to achieve it, ask for their support. If not, go back to your inner circle for another discussion and revisions. Continue doing this until you have buy-in from the influencers.
This process will help you rid yourself of the thought that no one is listening. It focuses you on the positive aspects of your vision and connects you with people who are supportive and encouraging.
Another situation to be aware of is your sense of urgency to achieve the vision and your organization’s urgency will probably be on two different levels. Even with a well thought out vision, a well defined and communicated plan, organizations tend to be very complacent. John P. Kotter, author of “Leading Change” and “Our Iceberg Is Melting,” in his book “A Sense of Urgency” said, “Highly destructive complacency is, in fact, all around us, including in places where people would deny it, deny it, and deny it still more.”
This organizational complacency will eventually discourage a leader, especially if he has a vision that he believes, if achieved, will greatly improve the organization. A leader with a drive to achieve a vision has a great sense of urgency. He is impatient and sometimes cannot stand to watch as the organization continues its complacent plod toward nowhere and without a unity of vision.
As Masonic leaders we need to be aware that casting and communicating a vision is a sometimes a frustrating process. You will sometimes be discouraged and feel that no one is listening and that no one cares. You will also find that if they do care they may not be moving at the same speed you are. When you get discouraged, talk with all the people you rely on for advice; they are a great help and will lift your spirits.