How Do You Know if Your Vision Needs a Makeover?

Oct 30, 2014

It’s the end of October. You’re probably knee-deep in preparing for 2015 strategic planning.

You’ve set expectations. The planning team is ready to engage.

But first, take a pregnant pause. Before jumping into strategic priorities, organizational goals and assigning ownership and accountability, is it time to dust off your vision statement? Does it need a makeover?

Consider the greats. Here are a few real-world vision statements that have helped shape our world:

“We will provide extraordinary motorcycles and customer experiences.” – Harley-Davidson.

“Fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality.” – Hilton Worldwide.

“We help consumers, athletes and artists, partners and employees fulfill their true potential and reach heights they may have thought un-reachable.” – Reebok.

How does your vision statement compare? A vision statement paints a picture of an ideal future state. Think 5 to 10 years out. Does it paint a picture of the mountain top you see yourself and your organization standing on? A vision statement isn’t a slam dunk. It isn’t guaranteed. It’s a vision.

How do you know it’s time to dust off your organization’s current vision statement and create a new one? Here are a few indicators, which might tell you it’s time:

  • It’s been achieved. Seriously, if it’s been achieved it’s time to paint another picture.
  • It doesn’t inspire. Vision statements need to invoke inspiration.
  • It isn’t memorable. There’s a red flag if no one remembers it.

A great vision statement consists of the following elements. Your vision statement may or may not incorporate all of these elements, but keep them in mind when creating yours:

  • Futurecasting: Provides a picture of what your organization will look like in the future.
  • Audacious: Represents a dream beyond what you think is possible. It represents the mountaintop you strive to reach. Visioning takes you out beyond your present reality.
  • Motivating: Clarifies the direction for where you need to move to and keeps everyone pushing forward to reach it.
  • Purpose-Driven: Worded to give your staff a larger sense of purpose—so they see themselves as “building a cathedral” rather than “laying stones.”
  • Capitalizes on Core Competencies: Builds on your organization’s core competencies. It builds on what you have already established—history, customer/constituent base, strengths, and unique capabilities, resources and assets.

Forming a strategic vision should provide long-term direction and infuse your organization with a sense of purposeful action. Think of it like the North Star. It’s your distant focal point.

StrategyCheck: Is it time to dust off your organization’s vision statement?


One Comment

  1. Stephen McPeek says:

    Very helpful!

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