The Danger of Vision Casting

Vision casting can be dangerous…

It can destroy the health of a team…

Cast your stones if you want, but it’s true.

The most prolific vision-casters can ruin a good team.

Let me explain…

Casting a vision is one part of success…an important part…

Completing the vision is another…equally important part…

And if the team doesn’t understand the vision…

Or how to complete it…

It won’t matter how well the vision was cast…

In fact, it can even do more harm than good.

Visions can appear bigger than life…

People left without the “how” may feel discouraged, defeated; like failures.

They may give up and the vision dies…

Vision-casters, by nature, thrive on casting…so they are continually throwing out the big idea…

It’s fun, exciting, motivating…visionary…

Great leaders continually work to ensure people not only catch the vision…

But also understand the how and have the resources to accomplish the vision…

It takes both…

Great leaders:

  • Ask questions to make sure everyone understands…
  • Ensure there are plans, strategies, and systems in place…
  • Never leave the process during implementation…
  • Break the vision down into measurable steps or goals…

Have you been on the bad side of vision casting?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • James Jordan says:

    Great post. I am glad that I found it. We are going through this in our church. Our pastor has many big visions, but the implementation of it is so unclear, and the vision seem to change all the time. I have asked the pastor about the short term plan because much of his vision is something that cannot be accomplished for years. So, while the pastor is talking about his big vision, we are sitting and wondering, "what about now?" And it seems as if he talks about the vision more than implementing it. It is difficult following a well meaning pastor who just talks about his vision without implementing it.

    • ronedmondson says:

      He probably needs a partner he can release implementation to or someone who can hold him accountable. He may or may not know this about himself, and may not be open to hearing it, but this would be good insight for someone to share with him. I often say to my team, “I only know what I know, please tell me what I don't know.”

  • Michael H Smith says:

    Ron, good post. I have worked with more than one leader who was great at vision casting but did nothing to implement the vision. Often they tried to implement the vision but tired quickly and moved on to the next thing. I agree that if we want the vision to succeed then we need a plan for action as soon as the vision is cast.

  • micah68ph says:

    While I agree that vision must be accompanied by planning, strategy and goal setting, I think it's also important to highlight that not all visionaries are gifted in those areas. I definitely think great leaders should ensure people understand the how and are equipped to accomplish the vision, but what if the leaders don't know how to do that?.

    I would add that visionaries need to surround themselves with people that are great planners, goal setters, communicators. If the leaders are pastors, this should come in to play with associate or executive pastors, elders, deacons or other ministry leaders. By establishing humility within the leadership teams and specifically asking for help in the areas a visionary lacks strength, they empower the body around them to take part in the vision.

    This leads into another area the visionary needs to take care in: do not cast a new vision when the previous vision has either not been carried out or is just reaching it's conclusion. As a visionary you have to realize the amount of work going into the actual deployment of a vision. You don't want to wear out those around you by going from vision to vision to vision and expecting the people that are making it all happen keep up.

    Surrounding yourself with people skilled in the areas you may not be, having the humility and trust to allow others to take part of the vision and run with it and caring and supporting for those who carry out the vision so as not to wear them ragged are all elements that play a key role in healthy visioncasting in any church or organization.

  • tijuanabecky

    I love your point about vision casting Ron. Was thinking about vision earlier today, asking if our church had a vision, and didn't get my answer but from reading this see the point that it is more than just vision. That you also need a plan or strategy, as well as a breakdown and simple overview of it to help those not on page with you. I do think however that it starts with sharing the vision with a friend, boss, parents, pastor,.. before you can implement the process. You need someone to listen to the vision and maybe help you see some of the next steps to help you get point A to Z. Definitely agree that you need to come prepared with a plan when casting the vision to the congregation or main person/people it will affect.

  • Eric

    Great thoughts on this idea. I've noticed that vision oriented leaders have a hard time of breaking the vision down into achievable goals. What suggestions would you have them?

    • ronedmondson says:

      I kind of shared some of that…asking questions, developing systems, setting goals, etc but I'm one of those visionaries who struggles with this. I see a need for another post. Thank you.

  • This "Vision casting" seems to be in vogue right now, and it seems that usually there is a lack of balance. One issue I have with it is that it seems as if some are always "casting" new visions and it just leaves everyone else confused and skeptical in the future. There needs to be balance, and your post helps with that. Thanks.

  • alszambrano says:

    Oh yes. With bad vision casters every other week it some new thing and a huge headache and scramble trying to make that new thing happen – because it always has to happen "yesterday." Finances turn into a disaster because the vision is so great, it "doesn't matter" if you have the resources in hand. Staff are left to simply figure it out and get it done ASAP – they get disgruntled and eventually burned out trying to add accomplishing the new vision to their already full task lists; occasionally they even leave with a bad taste in their mouths.

    Its not a pretty thing – and I appreciate your wisdom to leaders to avoid this kind of behavior.

  • Chris Patton says:

    Ron, you are dead on.

    I would have to say that I am certainly guilty of casting vision without following the rest of the steps through execution. In fact, I have often thought, "Maybe that was the wrong vision. Let's change it and cast another one." Looking back, I have realized the vision itself was not the problem, but the lack of follow through was the culprit.

    Though I am slow at times, I am learning how to improve on the execution. Using books like Andy Stanley's "Visioneering" and Patrick Lencioni's "The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive" has been very helpful on this path.

    Thanks for the insight!

    • ronedmondson says:

      Those are great books. You are leaving some stellar comments on my posts. Thank you.

      • Chris Patton says:

        Thanks Ron! You are welcome to stop by my blog anytime! It may not be an area of interest for you, but I would welcome any feedback you have. I am just getting started.

        You keep up the great posts and I will try to keep up the comments!

  • Vision is great! But if it just says in the Vision stage, it is only a wish.

    A plan with implementation and evidence procedures is key.

    If your goal is to lose 75 pounds:

    What's the plan?
    Has it already been proven successful with others?
    Can you implement it? (count the cost)
    Then implement it – Just do it!
    Evidence procedures – weigh daily.
    Review and adapt.
    and eventually,


    Shooting from the hip here, but i love reaching goals!

    God bless!

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