Vision & Outlook:
It is imperative that leaders have a handle on the particulars but do not claim to be an expert in all of things. Once this is understood, the daunting tasks ahead are far more manageable. The leader of a symphony orchestra does not play all of the instruments, he has a “score” that has each and every note that all instruments play. As he leads the music, he sees AND understands each and every player’s role and how it all fits together. He is an active participant and as the conductor, he is in charge. The musicians defer to the conductors judgment and direction, yet they are the ones whose bodies are employed in the physical act of playing the notes. Likewise, a leader will surround himself with quality musicians whose instruments are spread sheets, bank ledgers, fundraising, marketing, and a myriad of other skills. So our task here is to understand these processes and know how to employ them to build programs.
We often get excited about our dreams and ideas for some grand master plan for the future while sitting in a coffee house pontificating on a bar napkin. In our enthusiasm, we want to jump to implementation. We ignore the minutia that needs to precede the implementation of that bar napkin theory. Dreams and ideas can come to fruition but they need real work to lay the foundation. The ideas come to fruition through what Daniel Chambliss says is in his work “the mundanity of excellence” (1989). Inspiring others to have a vision of the terminal goal and the energy to do the day to day tasks to get there is a task of the leader or visionary. Leading for excellence is keeping your eye on the mark and your hand to the plow in the daily even mundane tasks. Those tasks alone do not accomplish excellence, but the synergistic sum creates excellence in their collective power.