Do you have 2020 vision?
Imagine for me if you will, three groups of people enjoying the morning sunshine in a park. Above them in the distance are some menacing clouds threatening rain and unpleasant weather.
In the first group, a person stands up and says to the others, “Get up and follow me now!” Some do as they are told and a large number simply stay put. So he repeats himself, “I said get up now!”
In the second group a person also sees the black clouds and gets up. “Hey everybody, we all need to head over to the apple tree over there. Everyone please get up, grab your belongings, walk in single file and please do not fraternize with others on your way. No talking. Stay focused and let’s do this promptly.” He says.
In the third group a person stands up and responds also. “Look everyone. There are black rain clouds over there. Let’s all head to the apple tree for shelter and perhaps we can also enjoy some of its fruit for lunch too.” Everyone gets up and walks over to the tree.
What is the difference? The first two approaches were authoritarian and micro-managerial styles of team leadership. Not too effective. The last one simply shared a vision with the team and they managed themselves pretty well independently.
Why is vision so important in this business? Well, to start with, it provides three essential purposes:
- It clarifies direction.
- It motivates action – even when it is uncomfortable!
- It coordinates the team in a fast and efficient way.
As we prepare for the year 2020, let’s consider what creates a compelling and healthy vision for our futures. As we craft our vision, we can be better positioned and motivated to make the needed changes in our lives and businesses to thrive, grow and prosper.
Essentially there are six fundamental characteristics of a good vision:
- It is imaginable
- It is desirable
- It is feasible
- It is focused
- It is flexible
- It can be communicated in less than five minutes.
A great vision cannot be a hopeless list of vague positive values (“we stand for integrity, safe products, a clean environment and good relationships, etc.” for example). These things are lovely, but they do not provide clear direction and can turn many people off (excluding the extreme idealists) as a result.
What it should be is an exercise of both the head and the heart. It should take some time to develop and always involve a group of people. It cannot be created in a vacuum. And please be assured – it is tough to do well. While you work on this and struggle and sweat over it – know that the fight to get it right is real and common place and is a part of getting the job done well.
Dave and I have great confidence in what the future holds here with Nikken. And to see our vision bear fruit, we all must work together to see it happen. It begins with simple steps, which make it sound so easy. But each step is the consequence of a belief that it will take you somewhere good.
Let’s decide together to go somewhere good with Nikken. Get some clarity and know that this vision will be wind in your sails when it’s time to move fast and an anchor for your ship in stormy times. We need both for good sailing.
Ben & Dave