Dying from the Lack of Vision

There is a passage in The Bible that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” As a former minister, I always approached this from a church leadership point of view. If there wasn’t adequate planning, recruitment of leadership, budgeting, and gaining agreement from key leaders who could garner support from others….you were setting ourself up to fail. But now that I am in the corporate world, I see this verse from a different perspective.

Businesses have these policies and procedures and vendors and impenetrable list of things that they will and will not consider. Companies are hesitant to try a new vendor because they have a long relationship with their current vendor. But I have to ask, doesn’t that breed complacency? And not just from one side of the relationship, but both? Could it be that you might receive better service, better results, and a higher ROI from using someone else that is truly hungry for your business? Look, I’m not saying that in all cases a long term relationship should be dismissed to go take a shot with an unknown, but are you evaluating your current vendors without emotions and looking solely on the results? Are you ignoring the work or service that a current vendor is providing because you are too busy to consider making a change….or even worse, too lazy to make that change?

What about restrictions that we place through Job Descriptions? Your list of MUST HAVES might just be eliminating a better candidate with a bigger upside that doesn’t come from your cookie cutter ideal work history background. I was at an open house event the other day for a new collection center…a call center with 350 employees. Their CEO was recently recognized as the Best CEO in Austin. Would it surprise you to know that this CEO had absolutely no experience with call centers or collections prior to joining this organization? He was in IT marketing. I bet the person leading HR though had a job description that was very detailed and said that the CEO would need 20+ years of call center and collections experience, but somehow this guy has proven to be very good at what he does, although he had a bit of a learning curve.

I’ve mentioned before about companies who have screening questions set up as part of the application process (I use these too but it the right manner) where if someone answers a single question in the less than perfect response…they are eliminated by a computer without anyone ever considering the candidate as a whole to see what other attributes might be more valuable than the one thing that didn’t line up perfectly. A large recruiting firm – The Right Thing – does this, but I’m here to say, this is the wrong thing! They aren’t the only ones, lots of companies do this and you are missing out on great candidates by being so tight in your evaluations.

I love the TV show, Undercover Boss. Time after time, these bosses have come into the organization from some other industry and don’t understand what it takes to do all of the jobs that they oversee. That doesn’t mean they aren’t ver good at their jobs, or that they shouldn’t be allowed to manage those teams. It does show that the organization, in their cases, looked at other skills like leadership, planning, adaptability, communication, and other factors and determined that they were the right type of person who would commit themselves to learning this new industry. They had vision.

Vision, for the sake of this post, is being able to strategically look at a total individual and all that encompasses that person in an effor to evaluate all of the things they could add to a team or o a division or to an organization in the log run, not just a short term fix. Are there absolutes that must be in place fr some roles….of course. But how has your vision been clouded by comfort, lack of time, or laziness? Are you missing out on better options because of your cataracts of comfort?

Vision is required to be our best…and this isn’t a one time vision that lasts forever. It must be reevaluated and analyzed routinely. Take a hard look today at the areas of responsibility that you have and see if it’s time for a fresh look and new evaluation. It might just mean the difference of living or dying.

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