In Change, Vision

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” – George Washington Carver

We live in a world of activity. We feel like we’re busy all the time, and we actually take pride in it. If I ask a business owner how things are going they almost always say “We’re really busy” or “It’s been busy lately” or “We’re really keeping busy”. It’s as though simply being busy is a measure of success.

That’s largely because we tend to measure success by how much we get done. Describing someone as a person who “gets things done” is considered a high compliment. We have to-do lists we check regularly, planners full of things to get done – and the more things we mark complete, the better we feel about ourselves.

The problem is a lot of what we do provides no value to anyone whatsoever. We think we’re doing a great job because we’re busy and getting things done, but too often we’re busy doing things that are a waste of time and serve no purpose. Just because you work long hours and have a bio that lists a hundred accomplishments doesn’t mean you’re a great leader.

So how do you actually provide value? How do you make sure that not only you, but everyone else in your organization is focused on doing things that help the business get where it needs to go? It sounds nonsensical, but I always tell people the first step to providing great value and accomplishing what you want is this: stop taking steps.

Stop doing things just so you can brag about how busy you are. Think about your vision for your business. Are the things you’re so busy doing helping to make that vision a reality? If not, should you really be doing them? Should someone else be doing them instead? Or should they just be eliminated entirely?

Some of you may not have understand anything about that last paragraph because you have no vision for your business. If that’s you then take a step back and think about what you want your business to look like in 3-5 years. Who will your customers be? What will you be providing them? Why?

Too many people – and the organizations they lead – spend a lot of time doing things that do nothing to get them where they want to go. Some know it and can’t figure out how to stop. Some don’t even realize it’s happening. Don’t be part of the helpless or clueless. Articulate a clear vision for your business – and then get busy making it a reality.


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  • Brad

    Spot on Matt. Here is another great post I found yesterday on the difference between “productive and effective” work.

    “People get busy when they focus on productivity. Staying busy is staying occupied. I don’t think being occupied is something to strive for. Being effective is about finding more of your time unoccupied and open for other things.”

    • Matt Heemstra

      Thanks for the link Brad. That’s a great quote – definitely something to strive for.

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