In Growth & Profit

“The vision must be followed by venture.  It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.” – Vance Havner

A lot of time is spent these days talking about vision, and how important it is for organizations to create a vision of their future.  I would agree on the importance of vision.  Leaders must be able to develop a clear vision that they can then communicate to the rest of the organization, and they have to communicate it in such a way that the rest of the organization is engaged by it.  I believe that’s crucial to the long-term success of any organization.

Unfortunately, a lot of leaders develop a vision and then don’t do anything with it.  They might communicate it, and then type it up on some attractive letterhead, maybe even laminate it, probably post it in visible locations throughout the office or factory or wherever.  Then they go on making decisions in the exact same manner as before – i.e., as though they have no vision at all.

Your vision for the future should influence everything you do.  For example, let’s say your vision is to be a $100 million company in 10 years (there are probably more details, but let’s keep it simple).  One day, you have to make a decision about whether or not to compete in a certain marketplace.  You’ll do some kind of cash flow analysis, you’ll talk about competitors, etc.  And don’t get me wrong – all that is important.  

But do you ask yourself, “Will this help us attain our vision?”  Unfortunately, our experience is that too many leaders make decisions in a vacuum.  They never stop to think about whether or not what they are doing is moving them closer to realizing that picture of the future that’s in their minds.

The next time you’re faced with a product decision, or an investment decision, or a hiring decision, or you’re simply trying to decide which of the items on your task list to attack first, ask yourself, “Which of these options most efficiently gets us to our vision?”  Then attack it with everything you have.  That approach will eventually become habit, and you will see changes.  

Don’t let your vision just sit.  Make it useful – and turn your vision into reality.


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