Leaders must set the Vision, and then never lose sight of it in everything they do!
The vision is Everest
It is my view that leaders, managers and coaches need to ‘take people where they have never been before’ as Henry Kissinger was once quoted as saying.
The role of a coach is to challenge individuals and teams with possibilities and take them outside their comfort zones into the realms of uncertainty. In experiencing these situations we learn more about ourselves and grow as people.
This is how a baby learns to crawl, and then walk. This is how we first learn to ride a bike. It is how we move through our education. And it is how we make it through to day two of our first job.
In order to achieve milestones such as these, we are prepared to move outside the safe and comfortable ‘world we know’ into a world that is unknown. We usually fall down a few times, but if we get up one more time than we fall, we have learnt something new. If we don’t, we won’t gain that extra learning, but do discover something valuable about ourselves.
Like parenting, coaching is about creating a vision and providing a safe environment that allows individuals to fall down a number of times during their learning, their growth and their development, as they journey towards becoming a whole person.
Before I was appointed coach of the Australian Cricket Team in October 1999, I was always struck by the huge potential of the team and the players in it. I also believed the team was only scratching the surface of its potential.
From the first Meeting
So, in my first meeting with the players in Brisbane before the First Test against Pakistan, I talked about a vision I saw for the team. The vision was about taking a journey together to a symbolic place called Everest. However, Everest is never reached because it is constantly being redefined. What we set out to achieve was a higher base camp than we had reached before.
For the first meeting I wanted to give the vision some substance. I also wanted to link history with the present, so I used the word ‘invincibles’. This was the name given to the Australian cricket team captained by Sir Donald Bradman in 1948. The team journeyed to England, won the Ashes, and left the country undefeated in all their games – a feat never repeated.
The vision was not that the current team be regarded as invincible, or even compared with that 1948 team. The vision for this team was to aspire to being better than it already was, and it had that capacity. Time and history will ultimately label this team and its era; however, the players had the collective abilities to take this team from being regarded as very good to one that could be referred to as great!