I have struggled for some time with whether every leader had to be visionary- which is defined by the dictionary as “thinking about or planning the future with imagination or wisdom.” Expecting the visionary leader to have imagination and wisdom implies that the their envisioned future state is a pleasant one. Ideally, visionaries are able to imagine and articulate a destination for their organizations to grow into. Growth aspirations send signals to businesses that there is abundance, i.e. there is more than enough success to be had and more than enough money to be made!

My recent experiences have taught me that while not all¬† leaders are visionary, every leader has a vision. And while leaders may spend so much time on crafting and communicating goals and objectives, their unspoken vision is perhaps the most accurate predictor of the future of their organization. A leader’s perception of how the future tends to unfold becomes clear from they way they carry themselves and make decisions. Foreseeing abundance, visionary leadership instills hope and inspires the creativity needed for unearthing and capitalizing on new opportunities. Non-visionary leaders run the risk of projecting into their vision of the future their perception of the past and the present. And the most dangerous ‘non-visionary’ vision is that of scarcity, instilling fear rather than hope. The future becomes about going after the opportunities of the past and the present, using old or new method. This makes scarcity a self-fulfilling prophecy that limits the imagination of the organization to grabbing a larger slice of the same good ol’ pie. But how?

It’s not that difficult to predict what the future now looks like given the combination of more innovative competitors, disenfranchised employees, and less satisfied clients. Destination scarcity¬† has now become an unpleasant reality. Clearly, no leader desires for their business to contract but what they miss is how influential their mindset is versus their stated goals and objectives. A mindset of scarcity rather than abundance paints a vision of rivalry and protectionism, rather than one of growth and expansion.

As a leader you probably invest heavily in assessing and addressing your external environments and team performance. But how much focus do you place on understanding and transforming your mindset? To what extent is your spoken vision aligned with your mindset? What is your plan for deliberately articulating a growth vision that reflects a mindset of abundance?