Today we are going to be talking about vision statements. Every good company needs to have a vision statement. Really, every person needs to have a vision statement for their life as well.
If you began developing your vision by drafting a single statement, you probably undershot your mark considerably. Vision is so much more than a sentence. It paints an image of what your organization desires for the future, providing the passion and heart for everything you do. Energized by its vision, a healthy organization passionately pursues that thing that it cares the most about. If you are talking about a vision statement about yourself, it paints an image of what you want out of your life.
True vision can’t be contained by 10 words and a period.
In fact, people who develop vision statements often find themselves talking for hours, still never finding words to fully express what they feel. Unfortunately, too many organizations and people lack true vision. They are operating only from a bland, cliché statement rather than a genuine expression that comes from the heart.
A vision statement is only a summary. When the vision statement becomes the entirety, the vision has lost passion.
Please consider the following attributes of a true vision:
True vision is outward focused
The organization is only the means by which you pursue the vision, it is not the result of the vision itself. The people or city you are working to reach should remain the sole focus.
As yourself, “If our vision is fulfilled, who primarily benefits?” If it’s the people in your organization, you may need to readjust your vision. Ideally, it should be your target customers that receive the most benefit.
If you are creating a vision statement for yourself and your life, you can ask this same question. If you are the one who benefits the most by what you do in life, you need to look at readjusting your vision statement.
In the consumeristic society that we live in today, I honestly believe that most people feel refreshed by a chance to act for someone else.
True vision is not readily achievable
I understand that good leaders set achievable goals. You should set goals that you have a realistic chance of achieving. But a vision is not a goal. A vision is the single thing that every goal points towards.
People are attracted to causes that seem a little out of reach. People like to be a part of something that will really make a difference. They want to test the boundaries of what is really possible. No one deep in their heart wants to play it safe when it comes to vision.
The fact that an idea seems logically impossible does not necessarily make it unworthy of pursuit. Sometimes we have to push ourselves to try to achieve the impossible. By doing so it allows use to accomplish more than we ever thought possible. This is true for organizations as well as you as an individual person. Consider this, if your vision seemed achievable, where would God’s part in it be?
True vision is constantly communicated
Every service, every publication, every video, every e-mail, every medium of communication should reflect your organization’s heart and what the vision represents.
You should take advantage of every and all opportunities to express the vision. You may as, “But won’t it become redundant and worn out?” Not if your vision is more than just a statement. When a vision comes from the heart, you will find yourself constantly communicating it in new ways that are always inspiring. This is true for any organization’s vision statement as well as your own vision statement.
Sometime in the next week, I would like to challenge each of you to carve out some time and take a fresh look at your vision. Ask yourself these three questions:
- Are you focusing outward?
- Are you pursuing the unachievable?
- Are you saying it constantly?
Make sure that your vision statement is not just a statement stuck to you wall, but the passion in your heart.
I did want to provide you with some examples of some vision statements. I would first like to share with you the vision statement that I created a couple of years ago for myself to represent the vision I have for the way I want to live my life. Here it is:
To develop myself in a spiritually responsible, technically excellent way so that I can maximize my full potential in Christ and be a shining example of doing things the right way to all the people I encounter in life.
Going through the three questions we discussed, I do find that this vision statement has an outward focus. I say this because Christ had an outward focus and since my vision is to be a shining example of Christ, that would include an outward focus. I do think that this vision has elements that are definitely achievable, but also elements that are not. I will never actually fulfill the goal of being just like christ, but through the lifelong pursuit of this, I will come closer and closer. This is something that I do talk about a lot and am very open with people about. I do need to continue to develop this though so I can come to a state of saying it constantly.
Here are some other examples of vision statements of some well-known organizations:
“Through all of our products, services and relationships, we will add to life’s enjoyment. Enrich and entertain a global audience. Deliver superior returns to our shareholders”
“McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.”
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete*
in the world”
* If you have a body, you are an athlete.
“Our vision is to expand our locations both domestic and overseas by being the largest and most profitable airline company to achieve both short and long-haul carriers efficiently and with low cost. Also to be an airline carrier that has the most productive workforce to guarantee the best flight possible for each and every passenger.”
“To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women – globally.”
Hopefully some of these examples will give you some direction and get you inspired to create you own vision statement. Remember, if it is from the heart, you can’t go wrong.