Unleash the Power of a Compelling Vision

Unleash the Power of a Compelling Vision

Vision

One of the most popular buzzwords in business.  It has been discussed in management literature, offices, and boardrooms around the world. Yet I think it remains one of the most misinterpreted and underused concepts in business.

Here’s an example of the word “vision” that has become so common: At a recent meeting with Stan, the VP of sales in a large software company, I asked, “What’s the vision for your company?

He gave me a blank look, reached into his drawer, and pulled out a 3×5 card. He started reciting the words printed on that card. His voice was dry and monotone, as if he was reading a legal document.  His face revealed no enthusiasm whatsoever. I couldn’t blame him…the words he read were downright boring.

I thought, “This executive doesn’t get it. He’s reading a vision without seeing one.”

Stan was lost in the fog.

Fog Can Be Very Dangerous

I invite you on a road trip, starting in the San Francisco Bay area. Let’s imagine it’s a beautiful summer day. We rent a convertible sports car at the San Francisco International Airport and set off south towards the coast. The sun is shining bright as we head south toward Monterey, and the curvy road traces a tricky path between the vast blue ocean on our right and the sheer, rocky cliffs on the left.

With the top down and the music up, we speed along, delighted with the spectacular view of the ocean on one side and the picturesque mountains on the others, while our conversations are flowing. We are having fun as the time flies and the miles disappear behind us.

Then, as often happens in this area, a cloud of fog creeps in off the ocean. The temperature drops, chilling our skin, and the view disappears before our eyes. Feeling more cautious, we instinctively slow down.

Eventually we stop the car, put up the roof, turn down the music and continue on our way. Now we’re moving at a much slower pace, feeling a little uncertain on the curvy road. We think about the sheer drop off to the right, and instead of lighthearted banter, we speak in serious tones. We have lost the fun in our trip.

Forty minutes later the fog grows thin then fades away entirely. As the visibility improves, so does our mood. Our smiles return, we pick up speed, and we find ourselves appreciating the journey much more.

Now, for the moral of the story

Many organizations – and even more individuals – are trying to direct and maneuver themselves through the fog. Because they can only see what is immediately in front of them, they feel cautious, afraid of making quick, bold decisions, and they avoid risk. Instead of feeling energized, they feel hesitant.

Companies and professionals in a fog are usually so focused on the immediate road ahead – the problems, quotas, quarterly profits, stock prices, and other key performance indicators – that they lose direction for the long term and of the big picture.

Without a strong vision, sense of direction, and a large enough perspective to see down the road, people and companies become nearsighted, overly cautious, and uninspired. Over time, this dramatically compromises their speed and progress. This is the danger of being lost in a fog.

With a clear, sharp, compelling vision of the future, people get excited. They become surprisingly innovative and committed. They plan ahead, set ambitious targets, and take inspired action. That’s the power of vision unleashed.

What is your “fog”? What is the vision you like to create? How can I help?

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