Do you see yourself as a vision-casting leader? Do you have ideas that could become something if you could just convince your team or congregation to participate? “Leadership is influence,” as John Maxwell says, and vision-casting is how a leader influences. But vision-casting is not just coming up with a vision; it’s communicating in such a way that the vision effectively transfers into the hearts of your people, compelling them to action. Below are five keys to help you successfully implant your vision into the hearts of those you lead.
#1 – Repetition is Your Greatest Friend
In a perfect world, we would explain our vision once, and everyone would be 100% bought in, but the fact is no one will completely buy into your vision the first time, not even your spouse! Instilling a vision into the hearts of your people will require repetition. Repeat your vision until you are sick and tired of saying it, and then repeat it again!
Pro Tip: Most pastors picture themselves casting their vision as a singular Sunday event, like an Apple Product Launch. Instead, think of casting vision for several months.
#2 – Simplicity Trumps Creativity
For our vision to be transferable into others’ hearts, we must make it as simple as possible. This means distilling it into as few words as possible. The words you choose matter, too! Don’t get caught up in being creative. The best songs are usually simple melodies. Simple is memorable, and the more memorable, the more likely people will remember—and act on—your vision.
Pro Tip: The best visionaries simplify their vision down to fewer than six words. This will require you to abandon ideas you love but to make your vision transferrable and memorable, shorten it.
#3 – People Buy into the Visionary before they Buy into the Vision
The first two keys are all about communication, but in this next element, I want to pivot and address trust. Trust is just as important to successful vision-casting as communication. You can communicate effectively, but if the people listening do not trust you, any technique you employ will be wasted. If you have found that no one is catching the vision, ask the question, “Do they trust me?” Part of building trust is giving your people an example to follow. Don’t just tell them—show them how to live out the vision.
Pro Tip: The people you are leading want to know you believe in what you are asking of them. For example, if you are asking them to donate financially, you need to lead the way by expressing your commitment.
#4 – What Gets Celebrated Gets Repeated
We all like being part of a winning team. How do we know we’re winning? Celebration! Celebrating after a big win motivates everyone. In leadership, when we celebrate people’s actions, they are more likely to repeat those actions. After you cast vision, work to “catch” people exemplifying the vision and celebrate them. When others see this, they will want to get in on the celebration and will begin to exemplify the same actions as a result.
Pro Tip: Leverage stories of life change and impact. Cheer on the people who are living examples of the vision you want to see multiplied in the rest of the people you lead.
#5 – Make a Clear ASK
This component of vision casting often gets neglected. If you, as the leader, do everything listed above, but in the end, you are timid about making “the ask,” your vision will not go anywhere. Leaders often do a great job explaining what they want to see happen and may even motivate people towards joining them, but they fail to clearly and effectively ask their people to respond. Don’t make this mistake; give people a clear on-ramp to getting involved.
Pro Tip: Don’t be scared to ask boldly. Ask early, ask often, and make it easy for them to respond. Don’t let anyone get in their car to go home asking the question, “What am I supposed to do?”
Most leaders can improve their vision-casting effectiveness by making these simple adjustments. Identify which of these are growth areas for your next vision casting opportunity and tweak accordingly. Then watch your vision-casting effectiveness soar!
 Maxwell, John. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, 1998.
Will Browning is a graduate of Georgia Southern University, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently serves as the Send City Missionary in Los Angeles for Send Network. A former church planting pastor in Charleston, South Carolina, he currently lives in the Santa Clarita Valley with his wife, Tarah, and their youngest son, Jedidiah. The Browning’s also have two adult kids adopted from Ukraine, Piper (22) and Ethan (20).
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