Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, has stated “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
Clear vision has undoubtedly helped to shape and propel impressive companies.
Over the past month, many of my client conversations have been around revisiting their long-term aspirations and vision of the future-state of their business. I love that this topic has come up so frequently in our discussions at this time of year. Often, we think about revisiting vision at the end of the year (if at all). But time is fluid. And from a business ownership and leadership perspective, it doesn't matter if it’s December 31st or July 15th, vision casting and leading the way toward its completion is an ongoing “always” thing.
As we cross the halfway mark of this year, I’d like to encourage you to review your vision: let’s do a mid-year vision check.
So, review your notes from your last long-term goal-setting session or vision exercise. It’s probably six months old by now, if not six years. Dust it off and read your words. Digest them, and then dream again. Take it from your new point-A: today. And cast it forward creating a future-state that excites and inspires you (and ultimately your team).
Remember, although there are no firm rules around vision creation, we must not be tempted to deal in pure fantasy. There is a difference between a vision and a delusion.
Start with truthful reflection on your current reality. You need to “see” where you are now in order to visualize the way it can be. Build from reality. What’s working and not working. And don't forget likes and dislikes.
Getting some input from outside perspective can also add tremendous value. Remember, by definition, it’s tough to see your own blind spots.
Once you have an honest grasp on your business’ current-state, it’s time to create the picture of its future. Remember, it’s your business, and you are responsible for its direction. Grab hold of the future and “see” it in one, three, five years, or more.
Let's also remember, that although you need to stress the importance of this exercise, don't rush the process. Vision creation takes time. Remember, your vision ultimately drives your company forward. It guides your direction, strategies and tactics. It’s that important.
Additionally, a powerful vision can unite, inspire and motivate a team. Your employees want purpose behind their work and a reason to follow. And despite the common misconception that people simply want a paycheck, purpose translates into something rooted deeper than merely money. Now I’m not saying people don't want to be paid for their work; on the contrary. But what I am saying is that a purely financial focus will not sustain and inspire over the long term.
Your people want a rewarding environment that presents challenge and broader thinking. They want leadership with a meaningful purpose and inspiring vision.
At this mid-year point, let’s do a vision check. It’s your business. It’s your responsibility. It’s your vision.
Where do you want to go from here?