Once you find your true passions and build your burning desire to take regular action on those passions, it is time to create your vision for the future. Passion gets you excited, burning desire pushes you forward, and vision acts as your magnetic pull!
In its simplest form, the vision is an idea of or for something better than is experienced in the moment or has been experienced in the past. Without this idea, or “end in mind” as Stephen Covey called it in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” our lives are too easily filled with the mundane and busy activities of the day. There is always plenty of activity going on around us to crowd our lives and take us down a bad or wrong path. Our vision gives power to our daily decisions.
The whole idea of a vision is to give you a sense of direction – a sense of purpose. It provides a filter through which to see the vast activity and information in front of you each day. It gives you real power to make small decisions each day to influence the future. Instead of just reacting to the activities and information of the day, you become the captain and commander of your life.
The best place to start building your vision is at the end of your journey. Contemplate your family, friends, competitors, etc. gathering around at your funeral and imagine what they might be saying based on your life up to this point. What might you want them to say? If you can put this into words (generous, smart, funny, did the right thing, cool, etc.,…), then you are getting at the essence of your personal vision. The next step is to define what these words mean to you and what you can do to live them out. These words then act as a guiding light for your life!
It is important to get clear on your vision but not attached to 100% of the specifics of that vision. You see, no matter how much time and effort you put into this visioning process, you will NOT be 100% accurate with your vision. Many things will change around you as you pursue your vision. You will have had no way of predicting these changes.
The last year in NBC late night programming changes could NOT have been predicted by the players with 100% accuracy. A personal vision tied a 100% accurate prediction of how things panned out would most likely have failed miserably. Yet, even in the fallout of the most recent late night programming changes, one of its key players teaches us how to experience the benefits from the right perspective of our personal vision.
Conan O’Brien, the most recent host of NBC’s Tonight Show, was removed from the spot after 7 short months at Vision 20 reviews the post. However, in saying goodbye to his viewers, he captures the contradictory forces we must embrace in setting and pursuing our personal vision…
“I hate cynicism – for the record it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen…. As proof, let’s make an amazing thing happen right now.”
Much of your vision and its components can be fully realized if you start with the end in mind.
From Personal to Broadly Compelling
A vision for a thriving high potential growth business starts with one personal vision but grows and succeeds with the blending of many personal visions. It is with this connection, expansion, and blending that an enterprise develops a compelling vision which drives forceful and urgent action towards its end.
The compelling vision engages people, partners, investors, employees, customers, etc… to give discretionary energy to make it real. It is also one of the last truly sustainable competitive advantages when you develop a unique culture around this compelling vision and a set of distinct values.
Its like Terry R. Bacon, Ph.D. and David G. Pugh describe in their book, Winning Behavior, “Behavioral differentiation is difficult to copy because it requires more skill and will than many companies possess – even when they know what you are doing,” especially when behavioral differentiation is aligned with a compelling vision and distinct value set.
The Gallup Organization has shown through it’s data that the engagement scores on the statement ” the mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important” significantly impacts the success of an organization. By developing a broadly compelling vision for your organization, you are more easily able to attract, involve, and engage the best people at all levels in your organization. In their 10 million sets of data, Gallup has clearly found that higher engagement levels readily translate into higher levels and probabilities of success, productivity, and profitability.
Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Co. president and chief executive, talked about overcoming the challenges of the great 2009 recession when speaking at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. He said…
“I just can’t share clearly enough how important it is… to have a compelling vision,” he added. “If you don’t have a plan to deal with current reality and long-term growth, it is absolutely terrifying and you come close to losing your company.”
A personal vision will help you and a compelling vision will help your company, in good times and bad times, to focus on important things that can influence your future success. Time spent in the visioning process on the front end of your life and business journey will be richly rewarded during your often hectic journey in life!