An Inspiring Vision

Sagrada Familia - An inspiring vision

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The building, an incredible cathedral and architectural wonder, is still in the process of being built. It was started in 1882 and is the brainchild of architect Antoni Gaudi. What struck me is how the building is so consistent in style even though several generations of architects, artisans and construction workers have worked on it. I believe this is a testament to the strength and clarity of Gaudi’s vision and we can learn a lot from that.

Conceptual Vision

The Sagrada Familia is designed around the life of Christ. One face of the building focuses on the nativity and the opposite one on the crucifixion. Each face has a unique style and a very consistent feel to it. This isn’t due to any single aspect, everything follows the conceptual vision Gaudi provided.

We can do the same thing when we set a vision for our team or organization. What is the high-level narrative or concept we wish to communicate? What pictures and feelings do we wish to conjure up? If we do a good job of this, our team members can translate this into action and results.

Detailed Vision

Gaudi knew he wouldn’t be around to see the completion of the Sagrada Familia in 2035. He couldn’t provide critical feedback on all of the artisans detailed work. Instead, he focused on completing several examples of common architectural features of the cathedral. An example of this is the detail around a doorway. He wanted to show what every doorway should convey, a sense of wonder and artisanship.

It is unlikely we will set visions that outlive us but I believe the idea of providing details to support our vision is relevant for any leader. I ask my clients how they will know when their vision is complete and fulfilled. What will it look and feel like? This is what Gaudi was providing. He didn’t tell them how to complete it and I have no doubt the tools available today are much more effective than those available in the late 1800s. If he had told them exactly how to do it, those plans and methods would quickly have become outdated. It is so easy to fall into the trap of describing how the vision should be completed. If we have the right people on our team they will know how to bring the vision to life.

Gaudi was a genius and his vision for the Sagrada Familia is incredible. Our visions may not be as grand but we can all learn from how he led people to fulfill his vision, years after his death.

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