"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world."
--- Joel A. Barker
People often look to the new year to make changes in their lives. They see it as a time for renewal and a fresh start. Some businesses do the same. Many of them use this time to either create or revise their mission and vision statements. These are smart things to do, but unfortunately, many of us business leaders approach this task in the wrong way. We see it as a way to get some words on paper so that our team members, as well as our customers, can see what is important to us.
Let's take the Vision Statement as an example. Most of the time, a group of employees, managers, and owners get together in a room and throw some words up on the wall and then everyone votes on what looks like would make a great statement of vision. That's a good start and I suppose it is better than nothing, but it doesn't set the vision for the company. The vision typically comes from the owner or owners. The most difficult thing for these owners is to communicate their vision for the company to their employees, vendors and customers.
"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."
--- Carl Jung
In his book, Vivid Vision, Cameron Herold suggests creating a vision board with greater detail than most Vision Statements. This vision board introduces a three-year vision of the company and what it should look like. It is a tool to be used to reverse engineer, (or begin with the end in mind), and work from that three-year mark back to today.
"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary."
--- Cecil Beaton
The vision board better communicates the vision the owner has for the company. It paints a picture of what the company will look like three years from today. It is much longer than a Vision Statement, even pages in length, and should include images to help to get the message across.
"Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team."
--- John C. Maxwell
Herold suggests that the owner get away from work to some place quiet and spend hours coming up with the company vision. It may take a few visits and reviews of the vision board, but the point is that once it is done, it doesn't change over the three-year period unless there is a catastrophe like another pandemic.
He also advises that the vision board first be presented to all of the team members before making it public. When it is rolled out to the employees, the owner should ask that if there is anyone who cannot believe in the vision or disagrees with it that they should leave. The point being that you wouldn't want to have employees working in the company if they cannot see, agree, and get excited about the vision.
"Leadership is having a compelling vision, a comprehensive plan, relentless implementation, and talented people working together."
--- Alan Mulally
Finally, Herold recommends that the vision board creation should feel uncomfortable and make everyone else feel a little uncomfortable too. In other words, it should stretch your creativity and imagination. He uses Elon Musk as an example when Musk decided to build a fast electric car that is sporty looking and can hold seven people, (based on Musk's number of family members at the time). He didn't know how it would be accomplished, only that he would make it happen.