An ancient Hebrew proverb states that "without a vision, people perish". I agree. Setting a vision, and crafting a vision statement are not just exercises you do so you can check off the box and say, "yep, we've got one of those". Done correctly, it is highly motivating and becomes rallying cry for the entire organization. Defining it is also easier said than done.
Vision can be tricky. Not every leader, and certainly not every CEO, is gifted with vision. It is often very hard to craft a single sentence that encapsulates it. And, vision often gets muddled with Mission. We encourage clients to use the following simple definitions:
Vision = destination. It is the ultimate outcome of what you do. It articulates how the world is different as a result of doing what you do. Vision is a big idea — it has to be ultimately attainable, but may or may not be achieved in your lifetime.
Mission = path. It encapsulates what you are called to do — why you and the people who work with you get up and go to work every day. If executed consistently, you will achieve your mission.
People want to follow leaders that have a vision - who know where they are going and have a plan to get there. Take the time to build a compelling vision statement. You and your company will be the better for it.
I often get asked, why are we so focused on inflection points?
Chalk it up to experience. And mistakes. Over the past 25 or so years, I've been through more than my fair share of change. At first, I was un-nerved by it. My father spent 41 years at the same company. My father-in-law 38. The first time I changed jobs, they thought I was crazy. Now, I welcome it. Not change for change's sake, but change that propels you forward and drives growth.
One of my favorite quotes comes from the former Commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the US Military, General John Shaliskavili (who is also an alum of my alma mater Bradley University). He said "If you dislike change, you'll like irrelevance even less." I have come to not only believe it, but I now live it.
The fact is, static (or flat, or whatever you want to call it) = death. As a company, you can make money in a growth market, and you can even make money in a declining market (just ask Wall Street), but you can't make money when you are flat. Flat means your getting lapped. Flat = decline. Flat = death.
Inflection points are indicators. They are those little gems of opportunity that we as individuals and companies are given. They are opportunities to recognize that something is changing, or needs to be changed. Embraced and properly addressed, they can be the lifeblood of your organization. Ignored, they can lead to your demise (both personally and organizationally).
It's been said that the only constant is change. True, but the real question is, can you recognize the need for change, and can you put the right strategy in place to leverage your inflection points to your advantage?
Are you in an inflection point? Do you need to create one? Do you know how to take advantage of your inflection point to drive opportunity and growth?
Steve is a husband, father, and business exec. He loves anything outdoors, anything that is a hard challenge, and enjoys working with anyone who wants to continually improve. And golf. He loves golf. Steve is the founder and CEO of Executive Advisory Partners.