VISION – Into the Impossible! by Jim Johnson


What got man to the moon?  What drove explorers to risk all to sail ships to the New World?  What gets an athlete up before the sun to train?  What creates movements?  What builds businesses and brands?  What changes people?


Definition:  “VISION is a clear mental picture of a future desired state, preferably in writing” 

Vision begins in the Mind

Peter Stark created that definition, and I like it.  Let’s break it down a bit.  A vision is “a clear mental picture”.  Vision begins in the mind of a leader.  Leaders dream, think, image, and create what they want to become – what they want their teams to become – in their mind first.  A vision can become that all-consuming passion that creates filters through which they see most everything in life.

Vision is about the Future

“…of a future desired state…”  Vision is future-focused.  I’ve heard it said that one of the leader’s primary duties is to go out into the future, see where he/she needs to go, and then returns to lead his/her team there.  To launch this idea, think about these things:

* What do you want to be known as?
* What do you want your team to be known as?
* Why does my company need leaders?
* If we are wildly successful, how would we describe that success? (Joel Dobbs)

Vision is Communicated

“…preferably in writing.”  What good is a vision if it is not shared with your team?  And if you cannot put your vision in writing, perhaps it’s not clear enough.  When you have a vision, communicate it!

In my February 22, 2013 post in “Go, Leader, Grow”, I shared a quote from a book entitled, “Leadership Excellence”.  Authors Pat Williams and Jim Denney said the following about vision:  “the purpose of leadership is to organize and motivate people to do the impossible and unthinkable.”  I love that!  This first requires a vision.  A vision that is thought-through.  A vision that is a bit scary and uncomfortable.  A vision that is about your future desired state.  A vision that makes you and your team say (or at least think), “This is crazy!  Can we really pull that off?!”

So how does a leader create a vision that can transform people and organizations?  Peter Stark has a great article on this that I posted back on February 18, 2013.  You can find that post here.

As you work on creating a vision for yourself, your team, and your company, it’s important to understand some things:

* Vision is created within your context.  The world around us is changing all the time.  Pay attention to trends, news, people’s behaviors, etc.  Read.  Read articles, blogs, books.  Read to expose yourself to new ideas.  You won’t necessarily find your vision there, but what you expose yourself to will help mold your vision.

* Vision is captured in reflection.  I still struggle to journal consistently.  But when I do, I tend to produce better results in my personal and professional life.  Do you carry a smart phone or tablet?  Try using Evernote – a free app.  I am writing this blog post on it right now.  It’s the best way to capture and organize your thoughts.  You can later retrieve your notes on your smart phone, tablet, or PC.

And if possible, get away from the “noise” in life. Reflecting in the quiet can sometimes help in clearing your mind and gain new focus.

As my L.E.A.D. team discusses the why, what, and how of vision, we will then find our ONE THING to begin applying.  Vision is not just for the C-class executives at your company.  YOU need to have a vision.  Your success depends on it!

“Vision basically answers the question:  what does success look like?”  Joel Dobbs

What are your thoughts on vision? Share them!

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