The Turtle Principle

Expert leaders inspire their followers through the sheer force and clarity of their vision. Today we look at the seven secrets to achieving and leveraging your leadership vision.

“Make decisions in the short term to satisfy the needs of the long-term.”

The Turtle Principle comes from the Tortoise and the Hare. It states that expert leaders are interested in the benefits of the long-range approach and behave accordingly.

The Personal Leadership Insight Definition of Vision is: “To passionately pursue valuable opportunities.”

  • Clearly identify a personal definition of success. Know what makes you happy, content, challenged and strong. Just as important, identify the characteristics and traits you connect with failure. Knowing what to avoid is just as critical as knowing what to include in your life.
  • When you are setting goals for the future, cross reference them with your success definition. Make certain they are moving you closer to what is important to you. You can’t be too formulaic with goals because of the uncertainty of life. However, leaders always have more things to do than they have time to do it. Leverage this scarcity and invest in highly fruitful activities.
  • Become an expert at something by investing a large portion of time in a small range of activities. This prioritization is critical if your vision is to have relevance and meaning. That is why it is called “vision” and not “visions.”
  • Talk with other people in a long-term context. When you invest in conversations about tomorrow, you invest in tomorrow. Having a vision of where you are heading and where you see your organization heading is important, but that doesn’t make it real to others. Your language needs to reflect the power you feel for your vision. Only then will it inspire others to jump on board.
  • Use positive, optimistic language. It is amazing how many “visionaries” are simply great at talking up the future. This is not a rose-colored glasses approach. You must consider the up and down sides of your vision. However, expert leaders understand the power of their language and how it directs the opinions and behavior of others.
  • Get as clear a picture of your future as you can. Talk with others, listen to people who have been there, and visualize as many aspects as possible. As your vision gets clearer, your passion grows stronger. This visualization also helps you to make it through the extreme challenges you will face while making your vision come alive. I am a huge believer in faith. But I also understand that seeing is believing— even if it’s just in your mind.
  • Leaders with great vision don’t let short-term failures or set-backs break their spirit. You can’t just talk about the future; you have to believe it will come to fruition, no matter what happens today. There are thousands of leaders who have a vision for the future. Expert leaders fight the fights worth fighting and make it through the tough times.
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