A few years ago, I read an incredible book by Stephen Covey called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It laid out principles for producing real influence and effective, positive change in yourself and others. The very first principle, or habit, that he wrote about was proactive perspective change, which is the understanding that each of us is empowered to proactively influence and affect change in our own lives. Then was the principle of purpose, or as Covey put it, beginning with the end in mind. In this second habit, Covey outlined the application of this principle as the creation of a personal mission statement, or vision. I remember writing my first vision and experiencing a mindful liberation and explosion of possibilities. I realized that a vision is an incredibly powerful aspiration to excellence, and it has changed my life in such a profound way, that I believe it is THE most important foundation for any individual or organization. So, it’s only fitting that our very first Big Bytes blog post would dive into the power of vision and why it’s important part of crafting your personal and organizational brand. Let’s start thinking BIG!
“Proactive perspective change is the understanding that each of us is empowered to proactively influence and affect change in our own lives.”
What is a Vision?
A vision, more than anything else, is a choice. It is a choice to proactively pursue and to bring about a greater change to current circumstances. Your vision can be about you, your organization, your city, your country, or even the whole world. One important guideline that Covey relayed in his book was that the most successful and also the most fulfilling visions reflect the deep desires of your heart, which are centered not on yourself but on the people you care about the most and on making a positive difference in their lives. The BIGGER your vision, the further the focus will be from yourself, and the greater the need will be to inspire others to join in its fulfillment.
“The BIGGER your vision, the further the focus will be from yourself, and the greater the need will be to inspire others to join in its fulfillment.”
Why is a Vision Important?
Your vision sets the course for your life. If you don’t have specific goals for your next 10, 20, even 30 years, you’ll likely never fully achieve those personal, organizational, or global changes that make up the true desires of your heart. Proverbs 29:18 says that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Blindness is also the most prevalent disease mentioned throughout the Bible. Even if you don’t have a literal belief in the Bible, you can still appreciate the wisdom and principles advocated within it.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
A vision not only tells YOU where you’re going, it also tells your partners, your employees, and your customers. It’s a framework for decision-making:
- Does this support our vision?
- Is this going to contribute to the vision?
What’s more, a vision is a force for agreement, and it is the very foundation for organizational unity and cultural synergy. Without a vision, I believe you will end up leaving a less profound legacy for your family and business. If you carry responsibility on your shoulders, you need a vision!
How to Create a BIG Brand Vision
A BIG vision can only be brought to life by thinking BIG. Think about the values and the people you care the most about. Imagine that you died today and had the opportunity to sit in on your own funeral. Ask yourself these questions:
- What would you want said about you?
- What would you want said about your business?
- What kind of impact would you want to have made on the people around you, i.e. what kind of legacy would you want to leave them with?
When you’re envisioning this, don’t think about all the things that might keep you from doing “IT,” whatever “IT” is, such as your age, your past, or any limitations of your present. Think about the possibilities, the deep burdens and desires of your heart to truly make a positive difference that will live on after you. The natural tendency for most people is to focus on limitations, historical failures, or all the reasons why certain possibilities will never come into existence. THAT type of thinking is what you have to break through if you want to create a BIG vision.
“Think about the possibilities, the deep burdens and desires of your heart to truly make a positive difference that will live on after you.”
It’s a good idea to create a vision for each major area of your life – your family, your finances, your business or career, etc. For example, I have an incredible desire to affect change in our nation’s political and cultural environments, and I also want to grow spiritually and come into everything that God has for me and wants to do through me. So, I have a political/cultural vision statement and a spiritual vision statement in addition to some of the others that I mentioned. There really are no formats or limitations on vision creation, but you do want to try to hit the major areas in your life. It’s no different for your business. You’ll want to create a single, uniting vision for the entire organization and then also develop more focused visions for each of the operating or regional areas.
Create Missions to Support BIG Visions
Once you have your BIG vision, it’s time to tackle the mission, or the supporting principles or strategic pathways that are needed to achieve that vision. Here are some items to consider for your mission:
- Be careful that this doesn’t become a short-term to do list. What you’re doing here is setting the strategy, which includes the personal and organizational values, which need to be established and the principled, competitive advantages that need to be developed in order to accomplish your vision.
- Next, you’ll want to audit yourself or your business. Determine where you are now relative to your strategic principles and document the big gaps.
- Finally, you’ll want to create a plan for the path forward, with major, measurable milestones, which you can use as short-term goals.
- For areas in which you recognize gaps where you have limited knowledge or experience in terms of the right solution, you’ll want to consider asking for help from an expert. After all, this is your BIG vision, and you’ll want to make sure your efforts will be targeted and optimized with excellence.
Don’t forget to write down your visions and missions. If possible, create a digital slideshow or a framed print of your visions. They will likely change over time and be modified as new perspectives and possibilities are introduced, but it is so important to have a daily visual of your visions. In fact, the Bible has something to say about that too: ‘Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” – Habakkuk 2:2-3
“Don’t forget to write down your vision and mission. If possible, create a digital slideshow or a framed print of your visions.”
The infographic below, from LeadStrategic, a leadership consulting organization in Michigan, outlines 10 steps you should consider when developing your organization’s strategic vision.
Fulfilling BIG Visions
We can help you develop a brand vision for yourself, your organization, or just a small part of it, such as the vision for technology or the vision for marketing and sales. We REALLY love helping people create and fulfill BIG visions. Keep in mind that vision fulfillment is a marathon, not a sprint. Persistence, faith, and continued proactive efforts will bring about the positive change you are seeking, so once you have your vision; never ever give up on it.
“Vision fulfillment is a marathon, not a sprint.”
If you have a question about visions or missions or how to really think BIG, I’d love to talk to you personally! Leave a quick comment or tell me about your big idea. Thanks for reading Big Bytes! If you loved the post, share it with a friend!