VisioningI’ve spent more time on Google this week checking out what people have to say about management versus leadership. I may be flogging a dead horse but I keep coming up with people who say that one of the most important aspects of leadership is coming up with a vision or as we shall now call it, Visioning.

I certainly used to subscribe to that view and in fact I used to say that leadership was all about setting the vision, communicating that vision and motivating people around the vision. But that vision thing has got me wondering whether Visioning (you love that word don’t you?) is really part of leadership or is it something else.

If you accept my earlier premise that management is about logic, and leadership is about emotion then where does Visioning sit? If you look at it carefully, Visioning includes a logical component when it comes to examining markets and value propositions and figuring out strategic differentiation. That part of visioning is management. The inspiration part where we hold hands and imagine a better future for the staple industry (for example) is emotional.

I’m going to propose that there are really three dimensions to getting things done in an organizational context. Those things are Management, Leadership and Visioning.

  • Management is the logical side and is all about process.
  • Leadership is behavioural in nature and is about making an emotional connection.
  • Visioning is about developing a description of a desired future state.

This construct solves the dilemma about nasty bosses who have great visions. This way we can stop arguing about whether Steve Jobs was a lousy or great leader. We can conclude that he was a great Visioner but a lousy leader.