I was reading Jeroen van Breda Vriesman’s interview the other day, and something stuck in my mind. He said, “with a vision – one that employees trust – you can make incredibly big changes in a short time. Without this vision, if you push it just as something that top management wants, it will probably not be around for more than a couple of years.”
What is the vision? It’s a view of the future, explains the Cambridge dictionary. Ken Blanchard and Jesse Stoner describe it as knowing who you are, where you’re going, and what will guide your journey.
In many companies, fall is the time for updating strategy and reviewing mission and vision. What does that mean? I see the meaning of vision as something I’d like to become. It could be something so big that it would take all the luck I can get to reach it. The mission is how I would accomplish my vision, and in the end, a strategy is an actual plan.
We all have a vision, mission, and strategy, even if some consider these words just meaningless tingling. We use the same methods and paths, even if we don’t call those tasks with fancy names. So why is it that so often we fail to sell our company level strategy, mission, and vision?
“I want to be the best in the world.”
I have been a sports coach, and I remember how evident it was to say what your goal was. To say, “I want to be the best in the world.” To say where you want to go out loud. I’m not that big fan of sports metaphors, but I believe regardless of the goal, vision, or aim you have, you need to proceed with a similar path:
- Assess your level of commitment and starting point
- Make sure your goal is specific and measurable
- Break it into smaller goals
- Give yourself a deadline
- Be honest to yourself and evaluate possible risks and obstacles
- Adopt the right mindset
- “See” the result in your mind
- Find a supportive environment and necessary time
- Find the way to keep to motivation even during the hard times
- Take time to measure the progress
Somehow it seems in the business world we forget most of the things that would help on our way. Yes, we will make sure a goal is specific and measurable. We certainly will get a deadline and even break it into smaller goals, but what happens to other steps? Are we too busy? Is our level of commitment lower than required by the task? Are passion, ambition, and work ethics something we only have outside business hours?
“I need to work with the best team ever.”
When it comes to projects, it’s not enough if the project manager has a vision of quality deliverables. The vision of the outcome has to be something the whole team shares. At times it requires luck to get there. Without totally forgetting luck, ultimately it’s much more commitment, mindset, and support that is needed. People in the teams need to trust themselves and other team members. In the worst-case mistrust appears as duplicated work amounts, and the team itself starts to create a lack of motivation and hard times.
Without vision and strategy, whether it is company level fancy words or project, we are like travelers without a map. It quickly appears like the company is again optimizing, reorganizing, and cutting costs.
You can’t always choose your team. What you can do is choose and train the right people in your team. The only way to succeed in a project or a transformation is to have good leaders and especially to have good people.