When I work with large corporations and CEOs, I often challenge them to think about the trajectory of their company. Where do they want their organization to be in the future? Based on how things are going, where is it headed now? These are vital questions.
Here is an overview of a powerful business idea I use to help organizations create a detailed and compelling vision of the future they want to achieve for their company.
Check out the video or read through the content below.
What Is Visioning?
I want to share a tool with you that I sometimes use when I’m working with CEOs and helping them create a foundation for their strategic plan, and it’s called “Visioning.”
I will challenge leaders to create what I would call a “painted picture” – a vivid, compelling, highly detailed picture of where the company will be in the coming years. Let’s just use 2025 for this one.
And there are two ways I ask them to approach it:
One way could be to write a story as if you’re a reporter from Inc ., Fortune , Forbes , something like that, and you were there to write a story about your company in 2025, about all the things that it accomplished. Maybe you just made the Inc . 500, or Inc . 100, or Fortune 400, or whatever it might be, but they’re really impressed with your company and they want to come and write an article about all the cool things your company is doing.
And I want it in detail, just like it would be in the magazine.
And I challenge them: Read a couple of business magazines with overviews of companies, and that’s what I want you to write.
The other way, which happens to be my favorite way, is I ask them to write a story about what it would be like to be an employee in this company in 2025:
- What would it be like?
- What would the culture be like?
- Who would I be working with?
- Would it be a casual atmosphere where people brought their dog to work?
- Would it be a more formal culture?
- What kind of locations would we have?
- How much total revenue?
- Would there be an employee profit-sharing plan?
But I want them to sit down and really give some serious thought to where do you see your company 5 to 10 years from today, and I want it to be as if I was there.
What’s the Point?
Now, what does this do?
This creates a really broad story about what the owner, the CEO, the president, whoever it might be running the company, of what they really see the future look like for their organization.
Step 2, then, is to give that out to your senior management team and get some feedback. And oftentimes, there will be some difficult conversations.
And then once you get alignment on the senior management team that, yes, this is where we want the business to go, this is what we see in the future, then you can back up and do your vision statement.
But What Is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement should be short, concise, to the point, focused, typically with some numbers in it, total revenues, position in the market, locations, number of employees, whatever numbers are important to you.
From that vision statement comes your strategy, because your strategy is built to get you to the vision you have of the future of the company.
You start it out with where we want to be in 2025, and you back up, year by year, all that way down to the current year, and say, ”All right, if this is where we want to be in seven years, where do we have to be next year, and the year after that, and the year after that?”
Then it’s pretty simple to create some major strategic objectives, 3 or 4, but no more than 5, for where we want to be this year, and then break that down into organizational action steps – tactics that go all the way down to the front line, and then it cascades all the way back up to the vision.
But for me, creating a Visioning exercise is a really good way to get people dedicated to where they want to take the company in the future.
Apply “Visioning” in Other Places
And by the way, this works exactly the same for your life.
Sit down, and some people actually create a picture. They cut stuff out from magazines or take photos and say, ”This is what I want my life to look like in 2025. Here are some images that motivate me and get me excited.”
And then back up to today and say, ”What would I have to do today – what decisions would I have to make in my life today so that 7 years from now, I’m actually living that vivid vision of the future I want to create?”
I hope you found this helpful.