Ya Gotta Have a Vision

Really. This is true. If you don’t have a vision stop now. Create one.

Here is the problem: if you don’t have a vision that you can communicate to people then nobody else on your team knows what you are building towards. If they don’t know what you are building towards, how can they possibly help you build it?

When a company or a team is just a few people it is easy to ignore vision, because everybody is well aligned. A small group coming together to start something actually spends a lot of time thinking about vision even if they don’t call it that:

The proverbial napkin in the bar? That is the vision.

Sketch on the back of an envelope that brings it all together? Vision.

But vision isn’t just for startups - the larger a company is the more important vision becomes because of its importance in communications. As successful companies grow new employees need to understand the original vision, despite not being in the bar with the napkin that one night.

And vision changes. All companies, again especially successful ones, face disruption and need to change. The only way to align a large group of people behind that change is to paint a vision of the future and communicate it so that everyone can contribute.

Working once on an innovation program we had to align 50 thousand people behind our initiative. People are often scared of innovation because it means change and it has the aura of threatening jobs.

But we had a vision of growth and expansion and opportunity. We couldn’t sit down with all 50 thousand employees, so we created posters, videos and even a website to share our vision, educate people and engage them in the project. Rather than fear, through vision we cultivated interest and a passion for innovation.

So, whether you run a startup, a corporation or a team, a vision is important. So

Ask yourself and your team to step out of the day to say and look at the future and define what you will look like five years from now. Get visual and draw pictures. Look at pictures in magazines and create stories around them or use storytelling techniques to develop a narrative. The important thing is to get into a future creative space and define what you are going to be as a company and as a team.

Focus on being visual and inspiring.

To test your vision ask these questions:

  1. Do we have an articulated vision of what we intend to make?

  2. Can I personally identify with the vision?

  3. Is the future clear (words, metaphors, analogies and/or pictures)? Does this express my interests? Am I encouraged?

  4. Is it clear how we make a difference for our stakeholders? And do I believe I can really be a part of this?

  5. Is it a stretch from where we are today?

  6. Is it authentic?

  7. Is the journey worthwhile?

  8. Will I get something out of this? Will it be worth the work?

  9. It is intellectually and emotionally energizing? Do I feel that I can get behind this?

If you answered yes to all of them, you are on your way. If not go back and rethink… how can you improve it?

Vision is one part of strategic logic as we define it. Defining your strategic logic means defining your vision, mission, purpose, values and value proposition. You can read more and download our free guide here…

Featured Posts