When I was 17 years old I was inspired by an elderly man one night with one message for one hour who said it's wise to set a goal for myself, my family, my community, my city, my state, my nation, the world and beyond for at least the next 120 years if I wanted to maximise my potential on planet earth. This message has remained with me for the last 39 years.
That was the beginning of me consciously setting inspiring goals that have led me to the global company I have today. Since then I have learned that you won't make a difference in yourself unless you have a vision at least as big as your family. You won't make a difference in your family unless you have a vision as big as your community. You won't make a difference in your community unless you have a vision as big as your city. You won't make a difference in your city unless you have a vision as big as your province or state. You won't make a difference in your province unless you have a vision as big as your nation. You won't be number one in your nation unless you have a global vision and you won't make a global impact without an astronomical vision. Unless you have a truly vast vision you won't achieve vast accomplishments.
In order to expand our vision we will need to expand our time and space horizons which means taking on ever greater levels of accountabilities or complexities of what we manage and we must be able to embrace both the supportive and challenging sides of life. A factory worker has a limited time and space horizon and lives from hour to hour, day to day. His supervisor has a slightly greater space and time horizon and lives from day to day, week to week. The lower management of his same company, who oversees the supervisors, lives from week to week, month to month. The middle manager lives from month to month, year to year. The upper manager thinks in terms of year to year, decade to decade. The CEO thinks in terms of decades to generations. The visionary, who manages many subsidiaries and CEOs, thinks in terms of generations to centuries. And the wise sage, who inspires the visionaries, thinks in terms of centuries to millenniums, giving rise to immortal legacies. The magnitude of space and time within our inner most dominant thoughts determines the magnitude of what we can manage and accomplish.
So in order to expand and grow our business, we also need to expand our vision, have patience with longer time horizons and not let immediate gratification stop us from our long-term objectives.
It is wise to remember that when we manage people, we must delegate and manage in terms of the time horizons in which they live in. It is unrealistic to give someone with a day to day, week to week or month to month vision a year-long project.
So how to do we expand our vision and space time horizons? It boils down to the basics of leadership with the key ingredient being congruency. Whenever a leader sets a goal that's aligned and congruent with their highest values (what is most important to them), they become disciplined, reliable and focused, they walk their talk, they are more certain and they achieve. They give themselves permission to step up to a new level of accountability, responsibility, and management complexity and a higher leadership role. Whenever they don't they stagnate. The greater the congruency between our intentions and our highest values, the greater the vision we will have for our business. So the key is identifying your highest values or priorities. Our highest values originate from that which is most missing in our life. Let me give an example:
I worked with the head of one of the largest paper manufacturer in Australia, who believed that the Asian market was starting to erode his company's market share and he was battling to compete.
When I met with this 63 year old CEO, I asked him how the company was started and what his original vision and dream was. Initially, all he could say was that they couldn't compete with the Asian market. He wasn't answering my questions and was disassociating himself from the company because he was nearing retirement. Anytime a leader of a company is dissociating from their own cause or effect, they lose their vision and their company loses its power.
So I probed further by asking a simple question, 'What inspired you to get into the paper business?' He paused for a moment and I could see a whole lot of emotion well up inside him and this is what he said:
"When I was a young boy my family was very poor and I didn't have simple school supplies like paper. I felt so humiliated that at the end of each day I went into the rubbish bins and literally grabbed any pieces of paper that didn't have marks on them. I would take it home and make pads of paper that were perfectly trimmed so I could be like everybody else."
This inspired this CEO to create his paper company to make sure that every child had paper. When I heard this story, all I said to him was, 'Are you going to let the children down?' He stared at me with tearful eyes and said no. I asked him why then was he retiring? He said, "I guess it is because it's what I am supposed to do at 65."
I asked him another question, 'When you retire, what are you going to do, take your 40 years of experience and toss it around the golf course all day?' He agreed that that didn't sound like a very inspiring idea.
Within three months of reclaiming and expanding his vision, his paper company started to turn around. In six months, they were ahead. This turnaround had little to do with the outer world but everything to do with his heart being back in his inspired and expanded vision. Leaders in business who are inspired from within don't respond to the outer world, they create the outer world.
Love and Wisdom,
Dr. John Demartini