Karin’s Leadership Articles

You had a perfect vision. Great plans. Strong execution strategy. You worked very hard. You recruited the best talent. Game on.

Oh crap. You didn’t anticipate the change in weather. The new competitor. The newcomers with new ideas. You dig into your plan harder, someone calls you pushy. Your feelings are hurt. You keep pushing. They don’t understand how hard you’ve worked. It’s too late to change now.

Don’t lose vision in pursuit of the plan.

Blurry, But Perfect Vision

When everything appears to be “going wrong” step back. It may be going more “right” than you think.

1. Consider

  • Are the obstacles preventing my perfect vision, or changing the way we get there?
  • Is this change really bad, or just different?
  • Will changing the plan create more supporters?
  • Who’s still with me?
  • Why am I married to this specific plan?
  • Am I leading with confident humility, or just confidence?

2. Engage

  • Talk with the team, do they still believe in the vision?
  • Discuss the changes in circumstances
  • Generate ideas
  • Involve them in choices
  • Collaborate on solutions

3. Respond

  • Build the new plan
  • Garnish excitement from the obstacles
  • Overcome
  • Celebrate wins

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Eric Dingler

    Great list. “Marry the mission, date the model.” – Andy Stanley. I like this quote from Andy and repeat it a lot. We are confident in our mission and vision. We are also confident we need to change our approach regularly.

  2. letsgrowleaders

    Eric, I love that quote! Perfect.

  3. Marko V.

    Great list, it’s a useful checklist for leaders.

    In my projects, I do it like in the game of chess. First, I need to know my ultimate purpose/vision (in chess its checkmate). Then, I plan just a few steps in advance. I also try to predict the steps of other parties and all the situations that may occur.

    Then, as quickly as I can, I make a move. If it all goes according to the plan, I just continue executing it. If even one thing change, as you said — “the change in weather. The new competitor. The newcomers” — I will again, from start plan my next few steps in a way that will bring me the best outcome.

    It saves time and energy in the long run.

    @Eric Dingler
    Great quote!

    • letsgrowleaders

      Marko, thinking of it like a chess game is perfect. It’s not just your strategy, others have vision and strategies too… so anticipating all of that is vital. Great add.

  4. Matt McWilliams

    I’ve always worked in very small businesses and/or start-ups. We grew one to 52 people and nearly $20M in a couple of years, but that is as big as it has gotten for me. So we usually have found a total inability to plan more than 8 days into the future. OK, just kidding.

    We did set visions. And those never changed. Literally never. We knew exactly what we wanted in theory (things like “To be known as the quality leader,” “10% annual customer turnover or less,” etc.), but our plans changed frequently. In fact, our one danger was shiny object syndrome. We had 3 entrepreneurs at the helm…great for rapid growth, not so much for sustaining focus.

    By the way,

    The proofreader in me caught this:

    t’s too late to change now.

    Missing an “I”

    • letsgrowleaders

      Matt, thanks so much. I love the grounded fluidity you describe. Thanks also for the edit.

  5. Dallas Tye

    I’m a +1 on ‘Marry the mission, date the model’ @Eric being a wonderful line.

    I think that line married to Karin’s check-list will ensure you don’t change for the sake of wanting to appear flexible.

    I lived through this recently; being pulled in different directions by an over-reactive captain. I felt like I was the guy in the crows nest yelling ice! dead ahead! and then was forced to watch as we ploughed into it. Its demoralising for the crew.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Dallas, great to see you here… I love Eric’s quote too. Thanks for sharing your experiences. We learn from all kinds of leaders…

  6. Steve Borek

    Interesting how vision is a word associated with seeing yet it’s difficult for people to see their vision.

    Most importantly, in any organization, the vision needs to be shared.

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