“A task without a vision is drudgery; a vision without a task is a dream. A vision and a task are the hope of the world.”
Vision work is one of the essential things about being human. Having a strong vision is both a look into the future and a continual reference point for you as an entrepreneur to continually align to.
Our Mind’s Eye
All of us “see” in our mind’s eye what we want to be, what we want to do, what we want to have and then—if we are powerful—we find a way to realize that vision. Our imagination is at work. Some of us do this consciously and systematically. Others trust their ‘nose’ or their intuition and move forward instinctively.
We can have a personal, individual vision for ourselves that might include career, family and lifestyle. We can have a vision for our family as a group, addressing how we want to live and how we want to treat each other. We can have a vision for our work team and our organization that firmly grounds us in our values and sense of purpose.
The Most Important Time for Vision Work
Starting a business is the most important time to do thorough vision work. It’s the time when your enthusiasm is high and your idea of what you want to do is clear and strong (at least I hope it is).
The consequences of not having a strong vision, as the quote above suggests, is to work (or exist) without meaning, without an underlying sense of purpose. Then work is only a means to something else and is not gratifying in and of itself. This is true for you as an owner/entrepreneur and for the management team and employees you bring on board.
The Guiding Light
The strength of a vision for a team or an organization lies in its unwavering sense of direction and meaning. A strong, meaningful vision for a group is like the North Star must have been to Columbus making that first trip across the vast Atlantic Ocean: a source of direction, place and perspective. It is something to be returned to, over and over again, to check one’s bearings and sense of commitment.
Vision Drives Optimal Level Performance
Doing work on your vision is a very important part of the process any company needs to do if it wants to function at an optimal level. A meaningful, strong vision statement that appeals to the hearts and minds of everyone involved can carry a group through good times and bad, refreshing its sense of commitment, passion and spirit.
A meaningful vision statement can provide a healthy challenge for a company or a work team. It can be a source of pride and self esteem and it can serve as a conceptual road map for the future. It is an image of how things can be and provides motivation to continually learn and move ahead.
The Great Leader
The great leader becomes the servant of the dream, the carrier of the vision and the teller of stories that reinforce the dream. The leader’s personality can often become subservient to the vision itself and the dream becomes the beacon, the star to follow.
Remember this as you begin your new organization or jump-start your old company: you will never be greater than the vision that guides you.