“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” ~ John F. Kennedy, 1961
When you think of vision, what comes to mind? For many people it’s this amorphous word we believe we know what it means until we really have to define it. Then it feels more undefinable, at the tip of our tongue, indescribable.
Vision is looking out far, seeing what could be. People call it their North Star, Guiding Light, their Why, their Reason for Being. What is it that makes you do what you do? Why do you want to do it?
Defining vision is one of my favorite parts of working with my clients! When we work together, I find it’s not that the company doesn’t have a vision, but almost every person on the leadership team has their own vision! Thus, misalignment. Thus, frustration.
I had two teams once that were really frustrated with each other because they were hitting constant roadblocks in their shared project. They both agreed on the problem statement, but they weren’t accomplishing what they wanted. So, I had the leaders get in a room and we literally went word by word in the statement and defined what it meant to them. Ah ha! We found that the word “travel agent” meant Mom & Pop agencies to half of the team and top tier agencies to the other half! Of course they weren’t successful! They had two totally different audiences!
Once we got clarity on the definition, then it was a great discussion to determine which one they truly wanted to work on together and that team became one of the most successful in the company. Because they got clarity on where they were going. It wasn’t their vision, of course. But it exemplified the need for clarity in our direction. When there is muddiness, there are communication and decision and execution issues.
Where are you and your company going?
Every successful business needs a vision. It is not enough to say, “I want my company to dominate this market.” or “I want to have 100% customer satisfaction in X years.” Everyone wants that, but you have to do more than just having a wish list. This is where vision comes into play.
It’s about stating your goal with clarity and intention—having a well-defined vision of what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it. Vision gives your team something to rally around. Having your entire team aligned with this vision enables you to achieve company growth, brand recognition, sales growth, etc.
Business Vision: What is it and Why is it Important?
A business vision is a long-term framework that shapes the future direction of your business. The vision of your business is its outlook on the future. It is where you want to be. It is what helps you constantly make decisions that steer your business in that direction.
You use it to inform business decisions and determine what to do from there on out. It is a guide that sets the direction and goals of your business and in which ways it will offer customers additional value that your competitors cannot match. Having a vision for the future of your business can help you direct your creative and energetic efforts toward that goal. A solid vision serves as an inspirational standard for everyone in your organization to strive for and serves as a powerful motivation when things get tough.
Your team must understand your vision. Knowing where your business’ future is headed helps you decide what kind of team to hire to achieve that goal. Employees who understand your goals and their contributions towards achieving them will be better able to accomplish them. With clear direction, you can then set meaningful metrics for your team to help you measure progress toward your vision.
Vision vs BHAG
Today, having a vision that will energize your team and align with your strategic direction is crucial. A strong, clear vision helps drive consistency and effectiveness in decision-making, as well as igniting employee engagement.
A vision is much more than just a dream that your business has. It gives you a direction for your future. When you don’t have a clear understanding of where you want to go and how, it’s hard to determine if the steps you take are leading you there.
Your vision is your big “Why” – why do you do this? What is your purpose or cause or passion? For most companies, you won’t be able to tell what industry they’re in or product or service they sell. It’s bigger than that. It’s bigger than what we can accomplish on our own.
Here are a few of my clients’ visions:
- Our passion is inspiring positive change through connecting communities
- We are passionately driven to deliver dreams and create memories
- Our purpose is to help women reach their God-given potential with confidence
- Our purpose is giving children the tools they need to live great lives
- Our passion is to turn challenges into successful execution
- Our passion is providing people with authentic experiences
- Our passion is solving problems
- Our purpose is to provide exceptional service to our clients, improving their quality of life
One way to make that big dream, that big “why” more tangible is to determine your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal, coined by Jim Collins in Built to Last). The BHAG many people in the U.S. know about is John F Kennedy’s declaration: “I believe that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.”
What is your BHAG that will inspire you and your employees to want to achieve it? Most of my clients focus on a 10 year timespan, or end of the decade. The timing isn’t as important as the goal itself. It should be exciting and a little scary, like riding a really fast roller coaster! Can we actually do this? Let’s try!
When you have the right people on board, they not only buy into it, but they take ownership of the BHAG as well. In the JFK example, it was clear enough that it caught the nation’s attention and they wanted to be a part of it. It was broad enough that NASA was able to determine how to make it happen, even long after JFK was gone.
My passion is helping entrepreneurs live their ideal lives in technicolor by getting what they want from their business.
My 2030 BHAG is helping transform 1000 family business leaders into powerful leadership teams with healthy, growing companies.
What is your vision? What is your BHAG?
If you’d like some help defining them, please reach out to us! We are passionate about helping family (and non-family) businesses thrive!