If you could imagine a better tomorrow – what would it look like? Who would benefit? At both a personal and business level, a vision statement is one that paints a picture of an ideal world. It doesn’t matter if you can’t see how it’s achievable right now. It doesn’t have to be tangible or time-bound – save that for your goals. Your vision is your opportunity to dream BIG, to play with ‘what if’, to throw logic and reason to the wind and to say ‘you know what – this is what excites and inspires me. This is what I can get up with a smile for, and this is what I want my life to be about’.
Be audacious. Be bold.
Start with a clear picture of your eco-system. Typically, business leaders think of an eco-system being customers, staff and suppliers. What about the families of these people? The community in which you work? Your competitors? Anybody and everybody who touches your business in any shape or form is in your eco-system. What is it that you offer that will make a difference to all your stakeholders? How will their lives be different as a result of what you are creating and delivering through your business (or team, or function)? When you create a vision statement that bridges your own purpose with the needs of your wider community, then unity and alignment naturally follow.
One of my favourite examples of how vision works comes from outside the business world. Every time I visit Barcelona, I am captivated by the Sagrada Familia – the iconic cathedral with its spires reaching for the heavens. But it’s not the building that stole my heart, it’s the story behind it. A pauper when he died, the architect Antoni Gaudi was run down by a tram, and the plans for his masterpiece were not quite complete. Yet nearly 100 years later, building work still continues, and his vision has not just been built, but built upon. It has inspired countless iterations of design, and the result is a masterpiece that will be a living legacy – not just to Gaudi, but to the Catalan spirit and its people.
A great vision is one that inspires and engages; that unifies and embodies the spirit of its endeavour. Does yours?