“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” — Jonathan Swift
There is a famous story about a block of marble back in the 1400s. This block of marble was deemed flawed, useless and was cast aside.
Every sculptor who looked at it thought it was too long and narrow to be valuable for sculpting. It lay there seemingly worthless for 40 years. In 1501, a 26-year-old young man came across this block of marble. He saw something different. He had a greater vision for this particular block of marble. Inside this formless mass of stone, this young sculptor saw the heroic beauty, grace and wonder of a man who would become known as David. Young Michelangelo famously said, “I already saw David inside, I only had to release him by chipping away at the marble that trapped him in.”
It is said we are not limited by our abilities or by our current circumstances. We are only limited by our vision of what can be. A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.
One person sees a rock pile, another sees a great cathedral. The difference — vision.
The times we are living in are the most challenging for business and economics that we have ever experienced. With companies closing daily and the market continuing to shrink due to a worsening liquidity crisis as the biggest economic player, the government is failing to raise the funds needed to stimulate the economy. Only those businesses that are most adaptable to changing circumstances will survive.
The people at the helm of most businesses — both large and small — are good managers. However, our environment is not normal and good management is just not enough.
What is needed are good leaders. Leaders who can see into the future. Leaders who have vision. These are leaders who have clear, exciting ideas of where they are going and what they are trying to accomplish. Vision is the quality that separates leaders from managers. Having a clear vision turns you into a special type of person. You change from being a “transactional manager” into a “transformational leader.” While a manager gets a job done, a true leader taps into the emotions of his people.
In these turbulent times, you need to take time out to think about what you really are inside, what you stand for, where you are going and what kind of a future you want to create for yourself and your organisation.
The greater clarity you have with regard to the future you wish to create, the easier it is for you to make the day-to-day decisions necessary to reach that future.
What is a strong vision?
Management expert and author of The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard said “vision is knowing who you are, where you’re going and what will guide your journey”.
Who you are is your purpose.
Where you’re going is your picture of the future.
What will guide your journey are your values.
Imagine you have all the time and money, all the knowledge and experience and resources you need. What does your business look like?
A strong vision is based on your values, the clear beliefs that you will not compromise under any circumstances. Average people have fuzzy or unclear values that they will compromise for short-term advantage. Leaders may change, but a clearly established vision encourages people to focus on what’s important and better understand organisation-wide change and alignment of resources.
True leaders have core values that define their vision. How we see ourselves is what we become. The vision functions as the “north star” — the guiding light that shows your team and your employees the direction they must take in order to accomplish your long-term goals. It is written succinctly in an inspirational manner that makes it easy for all employees to repeat it at any given time.
Here are examples of vision statements:
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe: “To provide telecommunications to all the people of Zimbabwe.”
Zimplats: “Our vision is to be the safety and cost leader in the platinum sector with sustainable growth in production, whilst generating superior returns, for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”
Alzheimer’s Association: “Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s disease.”
Avon: “To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women — globally.”
A clear definition of your vision acts as a magnet to pull you forward in the direction you truly want to take. Your vision provides inspiration for you and, if communicated well to your team or organisation, inspires them too.
Teams or organisations who have a powerful vision, inspire individuals to pull together. It’s so much easier for everyone when they all know clearly where they’re heading.
Until next time, keep on accelerating your growth.
Phillip Chichoni is a business development consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs. You may contact him by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit http://smebusinesslink.com