Visions that Inspire Right Action

Creating mission and vision statements are basic building blocks of any good business plan, team launch or annual strategic planning process. So basic that I notice a lot of organizations going through the motions of creating or updating them without thinking about how the vision can be used. The result is often a bland one-liner that says everything and nothing (“to put our widget on every web site”), or a dense paragraph of sentences that knits together everyone’s input, reads like a stream of business clichés, and again says everything and nothing—like “to be #1 in our market space through best practices and leading edge technology…” You know this vision and can fill in the rest of it, right?

A great vision includes details that inform and inspire right action.

A great vision paints a picture in people’s minds of what things will look and feel like when your team accomplishes its mission.

I love the simple business principles that Meg Wheatley proposes in her book Leadership and the New Science: Learning About Organization from an Orderly Universe. She maps over to the business world what physicists have learned about how chaotic systems self organize. A few simple guideposts (like mission, vision and goals) can help people self-organize and all begin pulling in the same direction. If I’m a team member who clearly sees the big picture of what our team is working to achieve together, I have a framework that helps me make right decisions as I do my piece of the work. If I can’t see where we’re headed, I either take up a lot of air time with questions and concerns, or very quietly make decisions based on my own criteria. Multiply this across multiple team members and you realize the enormous time loss lack of clear vision creates.