Do you know where you’re going to?
What would you do if I told you that tomorrow I was going to pick you up and take you on a trip? Your first question would probably be, “Where are we going?” If I told you I didn’t know, it would be pretty stressful. What do I pack? What will the weather be like? Do I need to bring medicine for indigestion or a ball gown?!?
It’s really hard to make any plans unless we’re clear where we’re going.
So many organizations struggle with the vision of where they are going.
Sometimes when I work with groups it’s helpful to ask them “What will be different in the world because your organization exists?” All organizations have a “raison d’etre”; a reason for being. A corporate vision might also include where the organization will be positioned in the competitive marketplace. That being said, if the vision is simply to be “the best,” without any larger world-changing aspect, it’s likely not enough to sustain energy, imagination, or focus when the organization experiences challenges.
OK, now that we agree that a vision statement is important to have, let’s talk about what the heck one should look like.
Here at Strategic Dynamics, we’re pretty clear that a Vision Statement should have as few words as possible to convey the picture of how you’re going to change the world. I’ll admit to huge frustration with long, flowery, convoluted vision statements (mission statements too). So…how do you create a Vision Statement that is short but still serves the purpose of guiding you and moving your organization toward the future? Simple, really. Just answer the question. How will the world be different?
Now do it in 20 words or less! Can you do it in 7? How about 5?
Here’s some examples:
Oxfam: A just world without poverty (5 words)
Save the Children: A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. (15 words)
Avon: To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women—globally. (18 words)
Microsoft: A computer on every desk and in every home; all running Microsoft software. (13 words)
CVS (Pharmacy): We help people live longer, healthier, happier lives. (8 words)
Take the time to discuss your vision with your board.
Then write the simplest statement you can.
Then check it…Does it make you want to keep coming to meetings and working with the organization? Will it sustain energy and focus when things get difficult? Is it a big enough “Why” to keep you on the board?
Now do you know where you’re going to???
If you’re still struggling and your group needs a facilitated session to help you figure out where you’re going to…or how the heck you’re going to get there…Let’s chat about how Strategic Dynamics can help.