What is a vision?
‘Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others’ – Jonathan Swift
A vision is a powerful, desired future reality that you (and your team) create and commit to.
It can be expressed in many ways. Typically, in an organisation it’s shared as a statement or a set of images.
A vision is not the same as a goal. A goal is specific, measurable and has a deadline. A vision, as the name suggests, is more like a dream outcome, and its primary function is to inspire you and your team. That inspiration is a fuel like no other, proven to be more powerful than a pay-rise, in fact.
Your vision can be as fantastical and outrageous as you like, but it must have heart, and ideally describe the difference you make to those you’re here to serve.
Why have one?
‘To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favourable wind’ – Seneca
I’ve supported many organisations that initially either didn’t have a shared vision or had one that was out of date or one that was created purely to decorate a business plan. On one level, it was hard for them to work effectively together because they literally had nowhere interesting or awesome to go to!
Once they worked out what their ultimate destination could be, they became clear, energised and much more able to take meaningful action.
As the old biblical saying goes, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’. We all need something to strive towards, something that magnetically pulls us out of bed every day. Our organisational purpose and values fulfil some of that role, but have we truly considered and got excited about where they might take us in the long-run? A legacy timeline can take us to some amazing places.
Creating your vision
‘If you don’t have a vision you’re going to be stuck in what you know. And the only thing you know is what you’ve already seen’ – Iyanla Vanzant
There are many ways to create a vision. It is entirely possible to create one without outside help. But in my experience, most organisations need at least some external support to create a genuine, bold ‘living’ vision. An external facilitator can help a team shake things up a bit and move beyond any ingrained, routine ways of thinking.
One question I get asked a lot is, should a vision come from the leader or from the team? My answer is both. As a leader you might feel inspired by something and you’ll then need to enrol your team in joining you on that journey. But, on the flipside, you could be getting inspired by your team’s ideas, and you all work together to come up with a description of this fantastic future. Whatever the genesis, it’s vital that everyone is fired up and fully on-board.
3 questions to get you thinking
‘Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world’ – Harriet Tubman
Take a few moments now to consider these questions:
Look at your organisation’s vision statement. Consider, does it truly inspire you?
Think about how your organisation’s vision is used. Does everyone know it and live it?
Which leaders and organisations inspire you? What are their visions and what could you learn from their approach?
If your answers give you a sense that something may be missing for you or your team, give us a call. Let’s explore how we can help enhance and boost your natural leadership.
Written by Mel Larsen, business growth and team performance expert at Animo
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