Vision Statements are Worthless without Disciplined Focus

Entrepreneurs can spend countless hours crafting their vision and mission statements. It is often assigned to every leader as a required task in strategic planning. Business investors and advisors will ask you, what is your vision? Imagine answering, “I don’t know!”

Do you have a vision? A mission? Business values? Often guilt rises in those that have not defined their vision when questioned by those that “know”. Thus the ritual begins. The business owner starts to define the grand vision: What do I want to be? What is our ideal universe? What is our big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) as a company? What motivates us?

Tah-Dah! The task is complete. Yes, you have a company vision. Check the box. Your purpose for existence as a business, which is now articulated in a small paragraph, makes it’s debut on websites, in business plans and sales presentations and supported in company marketing communications. What is the value of this exercise? Can you translate it to revenue? There are businesses that have you memorize the vision. Vision testing. They are driven by the belief that if everyone is united by a common vision, they will achieve more.

Granted, there is no argument that you need a strategy to win. If your vision consists of words to satisfy the strategic planning process, your vision is worthless. A vision must be supported by disciplined focus to accomplish your business goals. It is what differentiates the good from great. Why? It is the ability to look beyond the visionary clouds and execute on your strategy. Disciplined focus delivers results.

Vision is unlimited. Vision gives you big picture, inspiration and motivation. Focus influences your capability to execute on what is most important. Real power to deliver on a vision comes when you narrow your focus, allowing you to concentrate and build confidence. Disciplined focus enables you to positively face challenges and create sustainability in your business. It is the foundation for growth. “My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.” — Bill Gates

Have you ever watched a 3 year-old in a grocery store walking along side their adult companion. They seem to lack much interest in the whole shopping experience. Suddenly, they set their sights on what is intentionally positioned at their eye-level to grab their attention. They make their escape with remarkable strength. Bolting in a straight beeline, with determination, to the prize! They have disciplined focus on the outcome. They grab and go! Vision. Focus. Results.

If you have a vision or are thinking you need to craft a vision statement, take a few minutes to define the expected outcomes from your declaration. How does the vision help you focus on what is most important for your business? How do you use your vision as motivation? How will the vision help employees be better in their roles? How will the vision drive the business forward? Once you know the desired results, you can apply the disciplined focus to execute your strategy and accomplish your business goals.

“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” — Brian Tracy

By Jamie Glass, contributing editor at Project Eve, focused on startups, marketing, sales and leadership.  CMO & President of Artful Thinkers and Managing Director of Sales & Marketing Practice at CKS Advisors.  jamie@artfulthinkers.com or follow @jglass8

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