I can recall those evenings, when I was leaving the office daily without a sense of purpose or vision. This experience drove me to clarify a vision for my career, life and business. This was a common occurrence for me and one that I could no longer tolerate. I set out to answer the following key questions:
1.) What do I see in life & business that frustrated me the most?
2.) How could I bring the skills and interests I had to those areas of life that frustrated me the most?
3.) What would be different once the vision was realized?
The same approach can be used in your business to articulate your statement of a preferred future (Vision). What does your company do that solves a frustration or problem that other companies face? Then it becomes about articulating what would be different in the marketplace once the vision is realized.
Here are a few sample vision statements:
- “$10,000,000 in revenue in 2016”
- “15% annual growth”
- “To create a better every day life for people.” IKEA
- “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.” – Google
These are sample vision statements from various companies. A vision statement is defined as A destination in the future, that when reached everyone knows when they have arrived.
As you read those four sample vision statements, which one was a more attractive option? A vision statement when accurately defined ought to capture the imagination. To do that, you must have 3 essential elements:
1.) Preferred Future: With the Google example above, the preferred future is – ‘that information is – universally accessible’
2.) Description Of What Will Change: The world’s information is organized clearly identifies how things will be different in the future.
3.) Aspirational In Nature: The word universally is extremely aspirational. It did not exist at the time it is written.
Once you develop the vision statement, it is time for you to cast the vision to the organization. Casting vision is an essential skill for a leader that requires intentionality. Your job as a leader is to create connectedness to one another and connectedness to the vision.
Below is an example mission and vision statement, which I worked on with a client Lightbound. If you review their vision statement you will note that their vision is aspirational, provides a description of what will change once the vision is achieved. Their mission defines “How we will show up.”
Once you have developed your vision statement, it is critical to understand that it operates at three levels: strategic, tactical and personal. These phases are outlined in the book “On Becoming A Leader” by Warren Bennis.
The strategic level is about the company’s overriding philosophy and approach. This is the 30,000 foot view. The tactical level is about the philosophy in action or at the ground level view. The personal is how that vision impacts the employee. In other words, how their role connects to the vision itself.
On a personal level, being able to leave my day focused on a vision is an incredibly liberating experience. Instead of ending the day without a clear trajectory, I leave with a sense of purpose. Your employees deserve that too and as a leader it is your job to ensure that takes place.