Guest Post by Tom Kereszti

The most important goal for Leaders is to paint a compelling picture of the future that people will follow. Any compelling vision must answer three simple questions:

  • WHAT is my vision?
  • WHY am I so passionate about it?
  • HOW to make my vision a reality?

So WHAT is your vision?

I always love to use Coca Cola as an example for a simple vision statement that everyone can easily understand: “We refresh the world.”  In other words, every product Coca Cola makes is refreshing and it has global reach. My personal vision statement is: “Man of God Leader of Men.” It defines everything I do in my business and personal life.

Second, WHY are you passionate about your vision and more important why should everyone else be passionate about it?

Well people follow leaders who promote worthy causes. If your vision paints a compelling picture of a worthy cause, people will likely follow. Mother Theresa is a great model of this. She didn’t have a corner office, she wasn’t rich, she didn’t wear the expensive pant suit, in fact 100% donations made her vision a reality. But she was passionate about her worthy cause and millions of people followed her.

And last, HOW do you make your vision a reality?

That’s where planning and execution come into play. Once you find people that are passionate about your vision, make sure they are part of creating the plan, then equip and empower them to execute that plan. That’s where planning and execution come into play. Once you find people that are passionate about your vision, make sure they are part of creating the plan, then equip and empower them to execute that plan.

As with most people, my personal vision evolved over time. My first leadership revelation came when I was just 10 years old playing soccer in a Budapest playground with a bunch of 16-year-old kids. I was always vocal so I began directing plays, corner kicks and even scoring. Here I was an unsure 10-year-old and all the bigger kids were all of a sudden looking to me for direction. That gave me confidence to step up. In 1968, I moved to New York with my mom and sister but without knowing a word of English. I entered 6th grade at a local Catholic elementary school with much anxiousness. The first week of school during recess, a bunch of kids tied me to the fence by my blue & green checker uniform tie and Sister Vernada had to rescue me about 10 minutes after classes started. (I now realize why they invented clip on ties). This was all before we ever heard of bullying, but needless to say I was embarrassed when I got back to class. A few days later at recess, I could see the same group of kids coming toward me and I sensed it wasn’t going to end well. It was a gut check and I decided I was either going to get beat up or I was going to stand up. I picked out the biggest guy Luis Mantis, threw him to the ground and we had it out. Not sure who won or lost, but I earned their immediate respect and that was the last time they picked on me. Another lesson learned, never be afraid to stand up.

By 8th grade I was not only part of the click, but I was the leader right alongside Luis who became my wingman and I made sure no one else was picked on. As I matured, I always stepped into leadership roles. I was captain of my high school and college tennis teams and I went onto become country general manager for a number of different fortune 500 companies. Eventually I become CEO of a $350 Million company with over 2000 employees across 12 different countries.

So Leader of Men was always there but what kind of leader did I evolve into over time? Man of God entered the vision statement about 1995 when I adopted a Christ centered life philosophy. Simply put, my decision making at work, at home, at play, etc. are transparent and consistent with biblical values.

Why am I passionate about it? My passion for leadership has grown as I see biblically based principles in business & personal leadership work over and over again. In fact, I believe that if you take two identical businesses the one using biblically based leadership principles will always be more successful. And how do I make my vision a reality? As I progressed from a kid playing soccer to CEO and most recently as a John Maxwell speaker, trainer & coach, I get to live my passion of developing other leaders each day using biblical principles in business and real life.

One more thought that may help communicate your vision and get people to support you. I remember a Colgate Palmolive senior executive making a presentation that began by asking the famous three questions of what, why, & how. What is he talking about, why we should care about the topic and how we can help? It was such a great presentation, it’s a format I’ve been using since but added one more very important question:

WHO is in the audience?

Know their names, what keeps them up at night, what are their challenges, what are they thinking, how can you relate to them? What are their lifestyles, values, knowledge, influence, motivation, desires? Fine tune your presentation to connect with them on their level. Most people spend a lot of time developing their ideas and presentation materials but forget about who is in the audience. I suggest you spend as much time researching your audience as you spend developing your presentation. Once you know your audience, it will be much easier to answer the other three questions. What is the topic of the presentation, why should the audience be interested in this topic (what’s in it for them), and how can they contribute and benefit?

I wish you blessings on your journey to find your vision with passion and the people to make it a reality.

Tom Kereszti is a highly sought after speaker, teacher, mentor & coach. He teaches leadership from a lifetime of international leadership experience. He built executive teams and led companies in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the United States for fortune 500 companies. For more information on how Tom can help you and your team achieve success, contact him today @ tom@kereszti.com

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