Leadership Parable: True Vision Winning Over Illusion

He was called Musa. He lived in Egypt, at a time when magic was very much real in the world, or so says the Arabian legends. But not everyone could perform true magic, though Musa could. One of his most astonishing feats was casting his rod on the ground whereby it turned into a majestic snake.

In the typical manner of most men in power, the King Far’un of Egypt was miffed by Musa’s magical powers. To challenge Musa, he appointed the best magicians t in the Middle East. However, for these latter, magic was just a trade- involving sleights of hand and clever use of alchemy than anything. To confront Musa, they poured into hollowed out sticks quicksilver, tied the sticks together and left them on the desert sand.

Now, the sun has an affinity for the desert which should be experienced to be believed. And when the desert sands were burned by the fiery sun, the quicksilver within the sticks expanded. Thanks to this, the sticks began to move as if animated by life. The ropes with which they were tied also came undone and started to dance around. Seen from a distance, they looked like snakes writhing on the ground.

Now that the fake magicians had made their move, it was Musa’s turn to take up the challenge or concede defeat. But Musa was not to be outdone. He took up the challenge, and how!

Vision is like a bright sun that breaks all illusions

The True and the ephemeral vision

Musa- considered a prophet-entered the competition ground with his rod in hand. He cast the rod so it transformed into a fiery, hissing snake that struck fear in the hearts of anyone who looked at it. In no time Musa’s snake devoured the sticks and the ropes with which the ‘magicians’ gave the illusion of a true act of wizardry.

The sticks and ropes moving on the ground are like an objective we consider desirable but which in reality is just  illusion. In the context of modern organizations, these objectives could be whatever is in vogue in the relevant business you think you should chase after. Now, chasing a trend in itself isn’t necessarily wrong, only that could never be a sustainable business model.

For a business to be sustainable, you need a vision which could guide you and the organization through quite a few periods of change. In this regard, the act of true magic performed by Musa could be considered as the ‘true’ vision as opposed to the smoke and mirrors version of the fake magicians.

Unfortunately, many modern day leaders end up wasting a lot of time chasing ephemeral visions of the latter kind. For a vision to act as consistent inspiration, it has to have a personal resonance. Otherwise, it’s just a temporary halt on a journey without a clear destination.

The Temenos Vision Lab or TVL is a session which helps you evolve your True Personal Vision. Developed based on 25 years of business consultancy experience and psychological insights, TVL uses proprietary tools like Influence Maps which helps teams evolve their Compelling Shared Vision- a powerfully compelling goal towards which the team could move towards as a single unit.

True Personal Vision in real life

To better understand how a true personal vision could lead to success, we can look at the example of- fittingly enough- an ophthalmologist turned entrepreneur.

Hailing from India’s Tamil Nadu Govindappa Venkataswamy came of age when India was still fighting for her freedom from the British. A follower of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, Venkataswamy served as a physician with the Indian Army from 1945 to 1948. Devastatingly, he was struck with rheumatoid arthritis which cut short his Army service.

His fingers were now crippled- the worst thing to happen to a surgeon.

But he had a strong personal vision of helping the blind masses, amounting to millions in India who couldn’t afford surgeries. To enable himself for surgeries, he even invented special tools which he could wield using his deformed fingers. It’s nothing short of a miracle that he rebounded from what could have ended his professional life in its bud.

In a career spanning decades, Venkataswamy performed more than 100,000 eye surgeries, ensuring eyesight of innumerable people who were considered too destitute for such medical help.

His ingenuity shone even brighter after his retirement at the age of 58 in 1977. That’s when he founded the Aravind Eye Hospital. Starting out as an eleven-bed clinic it is now among the biggest eye care facilities in the whole world.

Of an estimated 12 million people without eyesight in India, about 80 percent suffer from cataract. To bring them superior yet low-cost care, he developed surgical procedures which were more like an industrial assembly line process than anything- something unheard of in modern medicine until that point.

The vision he set for his hospital was very much in line with his personal vision: ‘Eradicate unwanted blindnesses.’ As part of his vision, the hospital provides free services to two-thirds of their patients, using part of the revenue generated from the one-third who pay for their care.

These days, it’s all too common to come across Ventataswamy’s business idea as case studies in prestigious academic publications and TED Talks.

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy

You can enjoy more inspiring tales like Musa defeating the fake magicians in the wonderful book, ‘Stories of the prophets’

For the last entry on this series, you can check here

Banner image: Photo by Nicolas Jehly on Unsplash

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For change agents and leaders, not to benefit from meaningful events and gatherings is a missed opportunity! We invite you to indulge in some of the most transformational events from Temenos; designed with hard-earned understanding, organized just for you.

Temenos Vision Lab- Online ( June 29, 2018)

We invite you to this special gathering, which brings together a group of wonderful people who fill workplaces with joy and energy. By connecting with each other, you embark on a journey that leads to better clarity about the changes you seek, gain collaboration opportunities and leave with a concrete action plan.

Temenos Vision Lab- Amsterdam, Netherlands( Nov 2, 2018)

a668f554-ff3a-46d4-8a6b-3b5dbac20edaAnother venue to take an exquisite inner journey, to find your true Vision.

Temenos Effect Gathering 2018- Bengaluru, India(Dec 8 to Dec 9, 2018)

An event dedicated to the idea of personal mastery, for nurturing your beautiful self, for change agents and leaders to become their true selves.

For more details, visit our website - https://www.visiontemenos.com/events

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