Home » Business » Leadership

Positionary vs. Visionary: A "Mind Shift" for Leaders and Change Agents

Aug 17, 2007
Today's visionary leaders who are making this shift in thinking, from "positionary" to "visionary" are inspiring themselves, their team and even their adversaries to greatness. These visionaries have the power to create a world that works for all of us, and they are whom the world needs now.

Sadly many well-intentioned leaders and change agents fail to grasp this distinction, and that failure costs them more than they know. Slowly they lose their power to effect real, lasting change in themselves, in others and in the world around them.

First grasping this distinction between being a positionary and being a visionary, and then making "the shift" in one's thoughts, words and actions elevates and expands one's consciousness to a visionary level; thus giving one the power to effect lasting change.

ORIENTATION

Most people who take a stand only do it once they've built a pretty solid position to hide behind. They make the other side out to be evil, and then it's easier to stand. These are the old school revolutionaries. Their hearts may often be in the right place, but they have little power to inspire lasting change. The new revolutionaries know that the real power lies in being a visionary. Learn the difference here.

Revolutionary - One who takes a stand in the face of the powers that be or the status quo.

Positionary - A revolutionary who tries to make a difference from a position.

Visionary - A revolutionary who sees the kind of vision that calls one's self, one's team and one's adversaries to greatness.

AN EXAMPLE:

Jodi is passionate about the environment. She works for a green energy business, drives a gas-electric hybrid and recently joined a local environmental activist organization.

She attends her first meeting, passionate about the local debate about the controversy between big money commercial real estate developers and green activists who want to save the aquifer that they propose to build on.

She's sure that she can get others in the community to see the threat that the developers pose to the environment, and can get them to support the cause. She's also hopeful that the developers themselves might rethink their plans to build atop the aquifer.

At her first meeting, she proposes that the other activists join her in going to visit the developers in person and talk to them about shared values and creating a win-win solution... and everyone laughs. "Silly girl," someone says, "These are capitalists! All they value is greed and destroying the environment. Those are their only values!"

Everyone joins in the laughter; some even roll their eyes at her idealistic naivety. Jodi fakes a smile, not sure what to think. But she knows she wants these people to like her. She feels conflicted. She really thinks that something could be resolved by communicating with the other side.

She makes some phone calls to the "Capitalist Pigs" and even goes to their offices in person. She wants to be the one to make a difference. But as soon as the developers learn what organization she's with, they turn cold. They are short with her, and don't seem to take her seriously.

This experience is tough for Jodi. Maybe those guys are just cold-hearted snakes. A few years past and before you know it, Jodi is talking like everyone else. She's angry. She's cynical. The other side just won't change. And the system works against people like her.

A young woman, who took a stand and began to see a vision for real progress, has begun the typical devolution into a Positionary. She sees the new bright-eyed activists joining the organization, and laughs at their naivety. "They just don't get it," she thinks. She's sad. She's cynical... but at least she's on the "right" side. At least she cares.

Then one day, a young activist stands up in the middle of a meeting, and proposes they change their approach. There is laughter and eye rolling. But this doesn't stop the young woman. She is passionate, committed. She turns and looks at the people who are laughing and calls out to them. She's shaking, she's vulnerable, she's so deeply committed to the cause... that everyone can't help but listen.

"I can't begin to know what it's like to give your life to this cause, and to meet with so much disappointment and rejection. You guys are my heroes though. You're still fighting. For years and years, you've been the only ones willing to take a stand for this beautiful city. You haven't quit. You're still here.

"Maybe the other side really can't be talked to. Maybe they'll laugh at us once again, mock us, and go right on with their plans. But I joined this organization, because I wanted to be surrounded by heroes, people who are unwilling to sit idly by and let things keep going downhill. We can't afford to grow cynical. We can't afford to believe that the other side will never change."

This nameless young woman goes on. There's something about her raw courage and authenticity that quiets the room, and has even the most cynical of the group beginning to hope again. Suddenly Jodi's eyes are tearing up. She remembers a day when she still believed. What has happened to her?

A KEY POINT:

Positionaries are powerless to call themselves, their team or their adversaries to greatness. Visionaries, on the other hand, see the kind of vision that call themselves, their team and even their adversaries to greatness.

Yet even our heroes are usually models of being positionaries, rather than visionaries. If even our heroes can't keep standing for everyone, how can we?

The positionary path is more comfortable, yet is a sure path to slow death. It's a path paved by compromise. And compromise kills the human spirit.

VISIONARY ADVANTAGE:

Visionaries, whether "successful" in their cause or not, have the advantage of knowing deep inside that they are facing, standing and walking forward. The fulfillment they feel can't be replaced by righteous judgments. Their power is authentic. They live true to their values and their vision. They can call the world around them to greatness.

VISIONARY CHALLENGE:

What have you become cynical about? Your marriage? The public school system? Politics? Life itself? What conclusions and judgments have you formed about the "other side" or people in general? These conclusions and judgments are part of your position. See how they let you off the hook from being "the one?"

What feelings would you have to risk or face in order to believe once again? What would be worth standing for? The more you see yourself standing for that, the more you see what?
About the Author
As founder of the Vision Force Academy, Michael Skye works with a new breed of impassioned change agents around the world, who are giving their lives to stand for all of humanity. Michael is best known for his transformational leadership trainings, based on his proprietary iStand technology. He authored the the Visionary Mind Shifts for VisionForce.com.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 174
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories