Building great leaders and high-performing teams is more than an exercise of recruiting people with the right credentials and experience for success.And, it takes more than just assembling a laundry list of attributes that you expect your team to demonstrate — resilience, drive, vision, persistence in the face of obstacles, and so forth.

While all of these capabilities are important for leading an organization to success, large-scale scientific studies have shown that it’s the way in which individuals focus on their goals that determines the likelihood of them being realized.The same principles revealed in these studies can be applied to how your team envisions business success and how you develop true leadership athletes for your organization.

In her groundbreaking book, “Rethinking Positive Thinking,” New York University professor Gabriele Oettingen introduces the concept of “mental contrasting” as a vehicle for visualizing the future and the manifestation of your goals.

Oettingen’s work suggests that an essential attribute in all individuals, (and this is especially true for elite leaders) is the capacity to envision the outcomes they desire with precision and specificity.