If you’ve ever listened to business podcasts, taken a class or read about entrepreneurship, you’ve probably heard a lot about mission and vision statements. If you haven’t done any of these things, just give them a quick Google search. You’ll find some standard definition about setting objectives and defining your organization’s impact.
I want to cut through the jargon and go beyond the standard in this blog, specifically when it comes to executing your “real” vision statement. You might share a vision statement with your team, but most vision statements about the future of a company are just thrown together with the intention of getting a team on the same page, working toward a common goal. (Which is still a good use of it!) I want to get to the core of what you really want to accomplish and why.
All I’m saying is that you need to make sure there is a real purpose behind it, not just “fluff” or what you think you should say. Here are some ways to make sure that vision encompasses what you really want and the daily activities you are doing are purpose-driven and focused.
Define Your Real Vision
You can’t simply say, “I want the business to grow by ‘x’ amount in the next 10 years;” there’s much more to it. In order to get to the root of your real vision, you need to dig a little deeper than you’re probably accustomed to. Start by asking yourself these questions (and physically type or write down your answers, don’t just let them stay in your head):
- What is your real passion (in life and business)?
- What is your purpose?
- What are your values?
- What do you want your involvement/position in the company to be in 5 years, 10 years, etc.?
Then, use your existing vision statement, or create one if you need to, to start to analyze it by asking yourself, “What is the ‘why’ behind my vision?” To clarify, think about it in terms of how it impacts you personally and professionally, as well as if it serves your purpose and is in line with who you are as a person and a leader.
For many people, the “why” behind their vision is creating a nice living for themselves and their families. Some people want their kids to have better lives than they did. Some want the company to be systematized so they have the freedom to go on vacation. Some want to make a positive impact on the communities they serve. Think back to why you started the business or first became involved in our great industry.
As you think about the vision for your company, try to tap into the excitement you once had. Try to look at your company with a fresh sense of energy, with the courage and hope you had back then, whether it was one year ago or 50 years ago. The difference is, now you have some experience and knowledge you didn’t have then.
Recognize What’s Been Holding You Back
Recognizing what has kept you from accomplishing your goals (or even being able to define your vision) is not an easy task. It takes self-reflection and the ability to realize when you’re blaming some external forces. “The weather hasn’t been in my favor,” “I can’t find anyone to hire,” “My market is different” — you get the picture. When you stop making excuses and start facing what’s holding you back, great things happen. This is different for everyone, but there are similar things that tend to keep people from accomplishing their visions (or even understanding what their exact vision looks like).
Managing Fear and Limiting Beliefs
Fear and limiting beliefs are the two biggest things that prevent people from accomplishing their goals and visions. The state of your company today is a direct reflection of your vision, which is massively impacted by the beliefs you’ve held to this point, both about what you are capable of and what your business is capable of achieving.
These all impact your vision, so it’s truly worth taking the time to analyze how you are holding yourself back from clarity of vision and goal accomplishment you deserve. It really helps to talk with someone about this, whether it’s a family member or, better yet, a business peer who can be more objective when helping you. Let me be clear: We all have fears and limiting beliefs around life and business, but the people who manage them the most effectively are the ones who have a much easier time accomplishing what they desire.
Focus On How To Execute Your Vision
When you get to the point of having a clearly defined real vision and recognize some areas you’ve been limiting yourself, execution becomes the key to accomplishment.
You can’t execute your vision alone, but what you can do is manage your progress, calendar, time, processes, communications and systems. You can (and should) hold accountability meetings, thoroughly understand and analyze your KPI’s consistently and empower others to move the company in the direction you want. As a bonus, if part of your vision is to move toward a self-managing company, empowering your team members, systematizing and KPI analysis is at its foundation.
Like I said earlier, communicating your vision to your team with passion and purpose can still be a good tool, because it’s still crucial to gaining the support and help you need to execute your vision–but realize that’s not all it takes.
The road to executing your real vision is this: Defining and understanding what you really want and why, managing beliefs and fears, and taking massive focused action to execute it. Your team wants to follow your vision, so you might as well go somewhere exciting and enjoy the journey along the way.