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Why have a vision?

What is a 'vision' - and why have one anyway?

A number of us have worked in large corporate organisations where Vision and Mission statements are often created by the 'centre' with good intent - but mean very little to those working out in the field. 

At Restless Business, we believe that vision is the start of the journey, and it takes time to create - and co-create!

A doodle of a man with so many idea about where his business could go. He needs to get his vision down on paper so that he can unlock the potential for business growth. A clear vision also helps with employee engagement and retention, if well communicated it should energise and align everybody in the team.

Our definition of a vision: a description of a destination in the future around which we are ALL aligned and energised to act – ALL being ALL!

If the capitals don’t give it away, it’s not just about the business owners and senior leadership team.

We now have five generations in the workplace. Research has shown that the younger of the five are much more motivated to work in environments with clear purpose and vision than necessarily the Boomers, Builders and Gen X. Millennials and Gen Zs form our future - we need to engage them more and co-creation is key.

Take the time to involve people to clarify your shared vision. In fact, if you'd like to know what happens when you don't create a shared vision, check out our blog on coddiwomplers here.

Below is a process that has proven helpful for numerous clients seeking to figure out their vision: 

  • Write about the business in and around the ‘today’ box in the bottom left hand corner (on a flip chart or some such). Spend time capturing the business as it is – numbers, figures, products, revenue, feelings and culture, what’s working, what’s not.

  • Then move to somewhere else – literally physically move to a different space.

  • Imagine that you are now firmly in the future. Don’t worry about when it is lest you start to think about HOW. HOW is not allowed!

  • Create a clear picture – with your leadership team depending on how big you are – of what the future looks like – personally, culturally and commercially. Write it up in and around the ‘future’ box. (Did I say that HOW is definitely not allowed!)

An image used in a vision exercise. There is a box in the bottom left hand corner that says 'Your Today' and then a cloud top right that says 'Your Future'. Teams use this to map our their business vision from the future, putting themselves in their future state to understand what they truly want and what it feels like. This way they can align and motivate their team about the business direction and start with the end in mind.
  • Next, check in as to what that feels like? Describe one feeling word for what that would mean to you individually.

  • Take the feeling word and challenge yourself on what you have written up around the future box. Would it really make you feel ‘great’, ‘content’, ‘proud’? Add and subtract from the future picture accordingly.

  • Now, staying in the future, talk about what you did first to get where you are – what you did when you look back on August 2020?

  • Eventually, come back to today (move physically again, back to your original location) and plan from today!

  • Once you are clear as a leadership team, take others in your organisation through the same or similar process to get everyone in your business ‘aligned and energised to act’.

How clarity on vision can unlock growth potential

We ran this exercise with the Operations Board of a world famous toy ‘brick’ manufacturer.

To go to the future, we all relocated to the garden in the hotel in Billund and filled out the top right-hand box. Once the future was clear, we had a major challenge getting the team to come back to the present! They had truly connected to their new vision...

A couple of years ago, we supported a private school in Kent to work through this process upon the arrival of a new Head Teacher. All staff (120 people) for a full day on a Saturday!

The exercise lead to extraordinary levels of engagement, full take-up and what turned out to be a complete ‘re-energiser’ for the school - which has leapt from success to success ever since (including during lockdown btw). A real embodiment of the definition of a vision – ‘a picture of a destination in the future around which ALL are aligned and energised to act’.

Vision is just the first step in our 9-step business growth formula. If you're keen to learn more, then check out our webinars page here and come join us to learn how to unlock your full growth potential!

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