Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

One of my favorite lessons John Maxwell teaches is, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

The most important point is the first one—“A leader knows the way”—because if the leader doesn’t know the way it will be impossible to go the way and show the way.

In other words, if you don’t know the way, you will not be able to lead anyone or anything.

Robert Greenleaf, in his book The Servant as Leader, says, “Foresight is the ‘lead’ that the leader has. Once he loses this lead and events start to force him to act, he is a leader in name only. He is not leading; he is reacting to immediate events and he probably will not remain the leader.”

People are drawn toleaders who are able to paint a clear picture of where they should go. That’s vision!

Many of the leaders I work with around the world are natural visionaries. For them, having a vision is generally not the problem. The challenge comes in communicating that vision in a way that inspires and motivates people to accomplish it. As difficult as it may be, leaders must face this challenge, because no one has ever built anything great alone.

If your vision is small enough for you to accomplish on your own, get another vision because that one is too small. To take it a step further: if your people are having trouble understanding and accomplishing the vision, resist the urge to shrink it down. Instead, learn how to communicate it more effectively.

Let’s take a look at a leader who many consider to be the greatest of all time at communicating vision, Winston Churchill. During his time as Prime Minister, Churchill was known for his ability to communicate vision to the British people during World War II in a way that both unified and mobilized them.

He developed a pattern with these five tools:

Tool One: Strong Beginning — Capture their attention!

Tool Two: One Theme — Stay focused!

Tool Three: Simple Language — Easy to understand!

Tool Four: Word Pictures — Stories and illustrations!

Tool Five: Emotional Ending — A compelling conclusion!

In order to be successful, a team must be able to see the picture of what they are trying to accomplish. A team that is unable to see the vision is like the person who was given all the pieces to a puzzle without the picture of what it is going to look like. It ends up producing nothing but frustration and failure.

Helping your people catch the vision is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. I find Winston Churchill’s way of communicating both applicable and effective. Consider these five tools when preparing to communicate your vision.


  1. Dan Williams on November 15, 2019 at 9:10 am

    Thank you for bringing these to me. These are great to follow

    • Gangadharan. S on November 28, 2019 at 7:14 am

      5 tools for effective communications. ?

      • Dan Williams on November 28, 2019 at 8:07 am

        Thank you Happy Thanksgiving God bless you

  2. Amanda on November 15, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    I enjoyed this, Thank You for sharing
    In 2017, I survived a near Fatal drunk driving accident. I was the driver. It happened the morning after going out to Celebrate my friend ‘s 30th Birthday to a local dive. I Hit the Wooden Barrier on my driver side and my electric blue Mazda protege mp3 ping-ponged Into the opposing wooden barrier making my vehicle a crumbled mess with along with it. I ended up with my left femur, tibia and fibia having open fractures, my left ankle crushed, my right arm broken and my left arm sustained a partial amputation. The humorous, ulnar and radial bones broken and torn open so that, the arm was literally being held on by the artery nerve and flab on the back of my arm. Since then w Faith, my Family, Friends, good attitude and hard work, I have gotten to the point in my recovery that said am really to share my message with others. I have many ideas that have grown from this terrible event in my life and Hod is calling my heart to do this. This is my passion and my calling. I feel reminded of my destiny when I see the scars on my body where the breaks have scarred and I look in the mirror at my face that sustained NO Injuries and I remember that No Vital organs were damaged and even though I ended up needing 14 units of blood, it was being pumped by a heart that’s to burning to shine the light that has been placed within it. I know that what I have to contribute will save people and their families in the future.
    I have to be honest I didn’t know who you were until I saw a little ad for something that had your name and they called me and the girl suggested that I look into you a little bit. After looking online and finding out more about you, I think I see why God has led me to the opportunity to learn from and work with you. I look forward to hearing from you soon And becoming a valuable member of the team
    God’s ❤️✌?

    • Jason Brooks on November 19, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Amanda–what a POWERFUL story you have! Thank you so much for sharing it here with us, and for moving forward with your passion and calling to share it with the world. We look forward to seeing you grow as a leader!

  3. Eunice Hipe on November 15, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    Thank you. This article is very helpful in my workplace.

  4. Mai bere on November 18, 2019 at 4:49 am

    Thank you very much. I learn alot from this article

  5. Carlos Jimenez on December 17, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    What is the original source of the Maxwell quote “A Leader Is One Who Knows the Way Goes the Way and Shows the Way”?

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