The role of a personal vision in effective personal leadership

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The role of a personal vision in effective personal leadership by Claudell Cheryl Muller RESEARCH ESSAY presented as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree MAGISTER PHILOSOPHIAE in PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP in the FACULTY OF EDUCATION AND NURSING at the RAND AFRIKAANS UNIVERSITY Supervisor: Mrs AS Schalekamp Co-supervisor: Prof DPJ Smith November 1999 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This research essay has been part of a very significant period of growth which I have experienced during the past two years. Hence, I would like to acknowledge those who have supported me in my process of growth: :• My Heavenly Father - for making this study possible for me. My husband and children - who deserve my most special expression of appreciation for being my pillars of strength. My parents and sisters - for their wonderful and unstinting support. My supervisor, Mrs Susan Schalekamp, and co-supervisor, Prof Dawie Smith - who each, in their own way, contributed to my intellectual growth. My collegues at Newclare Primary School and my special friends - for their unwavering support, assistance and encouragement. :. The Rand Afrikaans University - for the financial assistance provided. 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE ORIENTATION AND RESEARCH DESIGN � 1 1.1 CONTEXT � 1 1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT � 3 1.3 AIM OF RESEARCH � 3 1.4 MOTIVATION � 3 1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY � 4 � 1.5.1 � Research strategy � 4 � 1.5.2 � Research methods � 4 1.6 PARADIGM OF THIS RESEARCH � 5 � 1.6.1 � Life and World View � 5 1.7 PLAN OF STUDY � 6 CHAPTER TWO THE NATURE AND VALUE OF A PERSONAL VISION � 7 2.1 INTRODUCTION � 7 2.2 THE CONCEPT "PERSONAL VISION" � 7 � 2.2.1 � Word analysis of vision � 7 � 2.2.2 � Conceptual analysis of vision within a personal and organisational framework � 9 Concept analysis of personal vision � 9 Concept analysis of organisational vision � 11 � 2.2.3 � Differentiation between vision, mission, purpose and calling � 13 Word analysis of mission � 13 Concept analysis of mission � 14 Word analysis of purpose � 15 Concept analysis of purpose � 16 Word analysis of calling � 16 Concept analysis of calling � 16 11 2.3 THE VALUE OF VISION FOR PERSONAL LEADERSHIP � 17 2.3.1 � Vision is an indispensable direction-setter � 17 2.3.2 � Vision promotes a sense of personal commitment � 18 2.3.3 � Vision provides a sense of purpose and meaning � 19 2.3.4 � Vision ensures continuity � 19 2.3.5 � Vision precedes success � 20 2.3.6 � Vision creates an openness to learn � 20 2.3.7 � Vision cultivates effectiveness � 21 2.3.8 � Vision establishes a standard of excellence � 21 2.3.9 � Vision effects change in difficult and challenging times � 21 2.3.10 Vision promotes productivity � 22 2.3.11 Vision empowers leaders to endure suffering and personal sacrifice � 22 2.4 CONCLUSION � 23 CHAPTER THREE THE IDENTIFICATION AND FORMULATION OF A VISION � 24 3.1 INTRODUCTION � 24 3.2 HOW TO IDENTIFY A VISION � 25 3.2.1 � Reflection � 26 3.2.2 � Paint a mental picture � 27 3.2.3 � Focus on those you admire � 27 3.2.4 � Know your passions, your desires and your loves � 27 3.2.5 � Past Personality Influences � 28 3.3 HOW TO FORMULATE A VISION � 30 3.3.1 � Formulation of vision within an organisational context � 31 The vision audit � 31 The vision scope � 31 The visioning process � 32 The vision choice � 32 Components of an organisational vision � 33 3.3.2 � The formulation of a personal vision � 35 111 Relax and prepare a space � 36 Step 1: Create a Result � 36 Step 2: Reflect on what you have discovered � 38 Step 3: Describe the Personal Vision � 39 Step 4: Expand and clarify the vision. � 40 3.4 CONCLUSION � 43 CHAPTER FOUR SUMMARY, FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION � 45 4.1 SUMMARY � 45 4.2 FINDINGS � 46 � 4.2.1 � The nature of a personal vision � 46 � 4.2.2 � The value of a personal vision � 46 � 4.2.3 � Identifying a personal vision � 47 � 4.2.4 � Formulating a personal vision � 47 4.3 CONCLUSION � 50 BIBLIOGRAPHY � 51 iv LIST OF FIGURES Fig. 3.1 Components of an organisational vision. � 34 Fig.3.2. Integration of the components of organisational vision and the elements of personal vision. � 40 Fig. 4.1 Organisational vision translated to the context of personal vision. � 48 V SYNOPSIS This study was performed within a personal leadership context, which, amongst other things, requires individuals to identify where they are going in life i.e. their visions. Hence, the aim of this research was to define the nature of a personal vision, to establish the value that can be derived from the creation of a vision for personal leadership and to identify guidelines for the identification and formulation of a vision within a personal leadership framework. A word and conceptual analysis of the concept "vision" was performed in chapter two in order to gain clarity on its meaning. Although "personal vision" was the focus of this study, vision, as used within an organisational context was also analysed to elucidate the concept further. Because the terms vision, mission, purpose and calling are often used interchangeably, a word and conceptual analysis was employed to distinguish the differences in meaning. The following integrated definition of vision within the personal leadership framework was formulated: Vision is a creatively imagined mental picture, which a person has of what ideally, realistically and credibly his/her future will look like. This picture is uniquely personal and is based on (present) reality. It defines why a person exists and what he/she stands for. This image is an improvement of the present. It focuses on what a person's ambitions or goals are, and provides direction, energy and hope to drive those ambitions. A literature survey was conducted to determine the value that a personal vision can provide. Many positive characteristics were highlighted. What emerged was the fact that vision provides individuals with a clear direction of where they are heading, hence they are involved in a purposeful venture. It assists in decision making and determines what is worthwhile to be achieved. Regardless of obstacles, vision will keep individuals focussed, hence they will be able to achieve their personal objectives. vi In chapter three, various techniques which could assist in the identification and formulation of a personal vision were provided. What was apparent from the discussions was that the principles and procedures pertinent to organisational vision can be translated to the context of a personal vision. The difference, however, was that even though business leaders use similar principles, it is without a deep, intimate and personal relationship. This study contributes to individuals living effectively and realising their full potential. Part of this process is to identify and formulate their own personal visions. These visions have to be an expression of who they really are, not contaminated by the views of others and by conditioning. The next step in the personal leadership process would be for individuals to formulate their own mission, goals and roles. However, for these to be meaningful, a personal vision is vital. vii OPSOMMING Hierdie studie is binne die konteks van persoonlike leierskap gedoen, wat onder andere, verg dat individue identifiseer waarheen hulle in die lewe op pad is, dit wil se hulle visie. Die doel van hierdie navorsing was dus om die aard van 'n visie te defineer of te omskryf, om die waarde wat verkry kan word deur die skepping van 'n visie vir persoonlike leierskap vas te stel, en om riglyne vir die identifisering en formulering van 'n visie binne die raamwerk van persoonlike leierskap te bepaal. 'n Woord-en konseptuele ontleding van die konsep "visie" is in hoofstuk twee uitgevoer ten einde duidelikheid oor die betekenis daarvan te verkry. Alhoewel "persoonlike visie" die fokus van hierdie studie was, is visie, soos in 'n organisatoriese konteks gebruik, ook geanaliseer om die konsep verder toe te lig. Omdat die terme visie, missie, doel en roeping dikwels afwisselend gebruik word, is 'n woord-en konseptuele ontleding gebruik om die verskille in betekenis te onderskei. 'n Geintegreerde definisie van visie binne die persoonlike leierskapraamwerk is ook geformuleer. Visie is 'n prent wat 'n persoon in sy/haar geestesoog het van hoe sy/haar ideale, realistiese en geloofwaardige toekoms behoort te wees. Hierdie prent is uniek en persoonlik en is op die huidige werklikheid gebaseer. Dit defineer waarom 'n persoon bestaan en waarvoor hy/sy staan. Hierdie beeld is 'n verbetering op die huidige. Dit fokus op wat 'n persoon se ambisies of doelstellings is en verskaf die rigting, energie en hoop om hierdie ambisies deur te voer. 'n Literatuurstudie is uitgevoer om die waarde wat 'n persoonlike visie kan he, aan te toon. Talle positiewe eienskappe is uitgelig. Wat te voorskyn gekom het, was die feit dat visie individue van 'n helderheid oor die rigting wat hulle inslaan voorsien, sodat hulle 'n betekenisvolle lewe lei. Dit help by besluitneming en bepaal wat die moeite werd is om te bereik. Ongeag die struikelblokke, sal visie individue gefokus hou. Hulle sal derhalwe, in staat wees om hul persoonlike doelwitte te bereik. viii Verskillende tegnieke, wat kan help in die identifisering en formulering van 'n persoonlike visie, is in hoofstuk drie verskaf. Wat uit die besprekings duidelik was, is dat die beginsels en prosedure van toepassing op organisatoriese visie in die konteks van 'n persoonlike visie gebruik kan word. Die verskil is dat alhoewel sakeleiers soortgelyke beginsels gebruik, geskied dit sonder 'n diep, intieme en persoonlike verhouding. Hierdie studie dra daartoe by dat individue effektief kan leef en hul potentiaal kan verwenslik. As deel van hierdie proses is dit noodsaaklik om hul eie persoonlike visies te identifiseer en te formuleer. Hierdie visies moet 'n uitdrukking wees van wie hulle werklik is en mag nie deur die opinies van andere en deur kondisionering beinvloed word nie. Die volgende stap in die persoonlike leierskap proses is vir individue om hul eie missie, doelstellings en rolle te formuleer. Hierdie proses kan egter slegs betekenisvol wees indien hulle 'n duidelike persoonlike visie het. 1 CHAPTER ONE ORIENTATION AND RESEARCH DESIGN 1.1 CONTEXT Life is frequently represented as a journey. Before one can embark on a journey one needs to know what the ultimate destination will be. Once this destination is identified, one will know what road to take. For the journey to be successful, it should therefore start with an act of vision. Having a clear vision is an essential step on the road to achieving success. It is a simple act of asking a question like: "What do I really want?" (Hendricks & Ludeman, 1997:59). This study will provide greater clarity on the concept "personal vision", the process, the parameters and the impact that personal vision can have on one's life. Vision is central to making a positive and lasting difference to one's life (Barna, 1996:13). It motivates change (Barker, 1991). It provides direction in one's life and is the best way to pursue new opportunities (Frisch, 1995:12). From literature vision becomes apparent in different forms. In business, leaders apply the principles of vision, but within the context of an organisation. In business terms, having a vision means you can see into the future of your company. The manager thinks of vision as what he can see in his furthest horizon - for his company and himself (Lonier, 1999:5). It is fashionable to have an organisation's vision framed and hanging in the office of employees. Vision is also found in the Bible. A biblical vision is inextricably related to a relationship with God who is a central requirement to discerning and implementing the vision (Barna, 1996:15). A biblical vision is an image of a preferred future, which is imparted by God to those who serve him. Paul was a man driven to fulfil a vision that God had entrusted to him. He preached, taught, admonished and planted churches convinced of God's design for his life (Barna, 1992:19-28). The significance of a clear vision is also expounded in the Bible. The Bible says in Proverbs 29 verse 19: "without vision the people perish." This 2 emphasises the need we have to be able to envision our future, to determine where we are heading in life (Jones, 1996:72). The conception of vision in a personal framework, however, differs. In the world of personal leadership, vision endeavours to facilitate the individual towards personal mastery. Individuals develop a better understanding of who they are, where they come from and where they stand in relation to themselves. It leads to the discovery of where they would like to go (Meyer, 1993:3). They seek to transform their own thinking and behaviour in order to become more constructive and focussed in life (Sims & Manz, 1990:7). They develop the ability to understand their present reality and to identify and bring about a future that fits them best (Glouberman, 1989:2). Very often people have some idea of what it is that they wish to achieve for themselves and their future, but they never get around to doing it, possibly because they lack the deep inner drive to pursue their dreams and to discover their unlimited possibilities. This ultimately affects the choices that they make in life as well as the ways in which they utilise their time (Covey, 1995:104). If people, however, want to discover their unlimited possibilities, they need to form goals based on their vision, which will inspire and excite them to achieve these possibilities. This vision is the invisible image in their minds and they then get to turn the invisible into something more visible (Robbins, 1991:274). The vision will become their "passion:" because it will be the powerful force, which will motivate them to do what is important. This passion according to Senge (1991) will provide meaning in their lives because they will be personally committed. Their lives will become an adventure because they will have a burning desire from within to transcend above the less important things in life (Covey, 1995:10). But, individuals seldom have a clear vision for their lives. The reason is that they have no clear idea of what a personal vision is, or what purpose it may serve in their lives. 3 1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT Seeing that this study is performed within a personal leadership framework which entails, among other things, that a person identifies where he is going in life (i.e. his vision), the specific research problems which need to be addressed are: What is a personal vision? What is the value of a personal vision within a personal leadership framework? How can a person's vision be identified and formulated within the personal leadership framework? 1.3 AIM OF RESEARCH The main aim of this research is to describe the nature and importance of a personal vision within a personal leadership framework, and to indicate how a personal vision can be identified and formulated. In order to achieve this aim, the following specific aims are set: To define the nature of a personal vision, and to distinguish between a vision, mission, purpose and calling. To establish the value of a vision for personal leadership. To identify guidelines for the identification and formulation of a vision within a personal leadership framework. 1.4 MOTIVATION An important reason for this study is that, although it is generally stated that individuals need to know themselves and their visions for life, the process of accomplishing this isn't readily accessible. Personal leadership, however, attempts to provide such a process. This study makes a contribution to refining this process. In the business and organisational context the formulation of a vision is an established part of strategic planning (Senge, 1991). In this study the process used in that context will be 4 translated to the context of a personal leader. This will be done in such a way as to be accessible to any person who wants to live more effectively. 1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Thus far, the problem and the aims of this research have been expounded. It is now necessary to indicate how this investigation will be conducted. 1.5.1 Research strategy A descriptive research strategy will be employed where factual information gleaned from various authors dealing with the subject of vision will be accumulated and described systematically (Isaacs, 1989:46). The aim would be to provide an accurate description of vision and other related concepts so as to gain better insight and understanding on the subject of vision. 1.5.2 Research methods The following research methods will be employed: Word analysis One of the first steps often undertaken in research is a word analysis. The aim is to gain clarity on the meaning of certain words found in the title and the problem that is defined. The meaning of the words are usually traced in the dictionary (Smith, 1993:42). A word analysis of the word vision, mission, purpose and calling will be done in this study to gain clarity on their distinctive meanings. Concept analysis According to Smith (1993:43) concept analysis can be used to clarify the meaning of a concept or to gain different views of experts on the concept or to determine how the concept is used in different contexts. The aim of concept analysis, therefore, is to gain clarity on the different meanings, characteristics and connotations of the concept. 5 A concept analysis will be done in this study to analyse the concept vision and other related concepts like mission, purpose and calling. This analysis will be done in order to provide greater clarity on these concepts. Vision (and related concepts) is frequently used within an organisational setting. It will therefore be necessary to adapt the information to a personal context. Literature study The descriptive research strategy will be based on a literature study which is a sharp, accurate and systematic study of, and the correct, regulated recording of existing literature (Smith, 1993:47). Hence, the literature study will be executed with a view to gaining knowledge of existing theories on the subject of vision, the value, identification and formulation of a vision. The steps, which will be followed with regard to the literature study, are: library searches on words like vision, mission, purpose and calling; consultation with reference books, catalogues, articles and journals on the subject of vision, in an academic library; library research on existing data of various writers; computer searches using keywords like vision and purpose. 1.6 PARADIGM OF THIS RESEARCH 1.6.1 Life and World View Hermans (1986:11-12) identifies two anthropological driving forces for each person: The individual strives to be a person in his own right (self-affirmation) and he also seeks acceptance from others. When the individual strives to be a person in his own right, he strives toward self-maintenance, self-satisfaction and self-expansion. Hence, he strives to improve himself. From this it is clear that by nature man strives to realise his full potential and to improve himself. This is the anthropological view underpinning this study. The view that man's genes, environment and education on their own do not determine man's destiny and behaviour is supported in this research. Between stimulus and response

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