Invest in Vivid Vision

Updated: Apr 9

In business agility—as in change management, strategic planning and life in general—you need to create a vivid vision of your future state to show others where you’re going. But it has to be vivid.


Too many leaders launch their transformation campaigns without really knowing what change will look like, how it will feel, why it will matter from day to day, who it will affect. And too many vision statements are just that: statements without specificity. As tools meant to inspire hearts and minds, these are useless.


You need to articulate a strong, clear, and specific description of your vision for your internal audience—your employees and colleagues.


Vivid visions inspire people.

By actually creating a vivid vision, you inspire people. You give them something to strive for, to get excited about. This is an agile leader’s ultimate role in transformation strategy: To create, co-create, envision a future and inspire movement among employees.


A vivid vision also helps your company focus on what matters, day to day. If you include cost in your vivid vision, every employee knows that their everyday business decisions need to focus on cost. They know what mountain they need to climb.



Here are three examples of vivid vision.



FORD

ca. 1905


Vision

To democratize the automobile


Vivid Description

We will build a motor car for the great multitudes. ...It will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces. ...When we are through, everyone will be able to afford one. ...The horse will have disappeared from our highways and the automobile will be taken for granted.


Business Focus

(1) Cost (2) Mass Production



SONY

ca. 1950


Vision

To become the company that most changes the worldwide image of Japanese products as being of poor quality.


Vivid Description

We will create products that become pervasive around the world. ...We will be the first Japanese company to go into the American market and distribute directly. ...We will succeed with innovations like the transistor radio that American companies have failed at. ...Fifty years from now, our brand-name will be as well-known as any on Earth… and will signify innovation and quality that rivals the most innovative companies anywhere. ...“Made in Japan” will mean something fine, not shoddy.


Business Focus

(1) Innovation (2) Quality (3) Brand recognition



ANONYMOUS (NDA)

ca. 2000s


Vision

Internal transformation


Vivid Description

Silos are no longer tolerated. We are one team across the globe… collaboration is in our DNA. We will invest time to collaborate together. Teams look forward to working with each other, not dreading it. And while collaboration may be hard and many times messy, it will also be exciting and invigorating. Our energy to work together comes from knowing that we can and will deliver a bold new world for our customers. We will do the impossible for our them and challenge anyone who says we can’t do it. Trying to just get “more things out of the door” will be a thing of the past, and we will ruthlessly prioritize the work that will bring the most value and delight to our customers. Our workplace feels different than anywhere else. We feel safe to learn through failure. We are brave enough to experiment. We are agile enough to change daily. We are humble enough to listen to feedback. Everything just works… there is no noise—anywhere! Just energy—everywhere!


Business Focus

(1) Collaboration Across Silos (2) Customer Centricity (3) Culture of Learning


If you want people to give their best, inspire them.

These visions are both clear and specific. Ford’s focuses on cost. Sony’s focuses on quality and recognition. The third anonymous company focuses on customer centricity.


Each vision unlocks business agility through people. If you want people to give their best, inspire them. Appeal to their humanness, to their emotions and aspirations, not the transactional nature of discrete tasks. Give people autonomy with vision and direction: Envision a vivid future, then inspire them to work together to make that future real.


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