When Inc Magazine set out to profile up-and-coming entrepreneurs in their first printing, they featured Steve Jobs, who was in the process of launching Apple at the time. While companies like IBM were still working on computers for enterprises, Jobs had a vision – putting computing devices in the hands of ordinary people. 40 years later, we have devices more powerful than the first manned spacecraft in our hands and many people can’t live without them. It seems simple now, but at that time, he received a healthy dose of skepticism from the industry as computing, let alone personal computing, was extraordinarily expensive.
A vision for your business helps capture your dreams in a simple way and helps chart the course for you to lead your team and organization.
Visions help to:
- Inspire: gets people excited to work towards a common goal
- Give Direction: provides clarity on how you’re going to get there
- Check Progress: helps to establish milestones, guides decision making and overcomes obstacles
- Challenge: takes you out of the comfort zone and provides learning opportunities
It’s always good to check if you have set up a vision for your organization, your team, or even your personal life. Here are 4 steps to help you get started on building your vision:
- Let go– Be in the mind frame of anything is possible and worry about the how later. A common mistake with weak visions is not thinking big enough and not challenging yourself.
- Understand what you don’t want– Sometimes its easier to start with what you don’t want the future to look or feel like before figuring out where you could be.
- Envision Success– Avoid generic visions that can be owned by anyone – what is your gut telling you about where are you in the future, what does it look like, how do you feel about that being accomplished?
- Own it – Communicate it to your team and yourself on a regular basis. It’s not one and done, you need to constantly remind yourself and the team and keep it on the forefront. Create a few goals to get you to move you closer to the vision.
Once that vision is set, it should remain set for a while. Visions aren’t meant to be achieved in a year, nor should they feel impossible to accomplish. When we look back on Steve Job’s vision for Apple, he was able to inspire his team with a goalpost that wasn’t going to be reached overnight. It took almost 20 years before personal computing became mainstream and almost 30 years for his company to dominate the market with Apple products, but he was able to set a vision that inspired, gave strong direction, made goals along the way and was enough of a challenge to rise to the top of the tech industry.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it completion,” – Jack Welch,
The man who led GE for over 20 years, and perfectly describes leaders like Jobs, who has a strong vision drives change, inspires their people and provides clarity for the organization, and in turn, changes the world around them.
Just as important to set a business vision is setting out a personal one which I’ll address in my next article called: “My Own Personal Vision Journey,” where I talk about how to apply the steps outlined above to craft my own vision to help become an executive coach.