The companies that will make it through the recession are those in which the leaders know where they are going and can articulate it in a way that everyone ‘gets it.’ Carl Sandburg put it succinctly when he wrote, ’nothing happens unless first a vision.’ The good news is that as humans we have the wonderful ability to create pictures and visual images in our minds. Our minds can even create full-color movies complete with sound. It is through this process of visualization that we can picture a desirable future and see ourselves there. But the question is this – do leaders know how to use this incredible ability?
And if they don’t, are they willing to learn how? Because, as we read in the Bible, ‘Where There is No Vision the People Perish.’ Proverbs 29:18
Leaders who, for whatever reason, do not use, or do not know how to use a corporate vision, or give lip service to their vision or don’t believe that vision is a vital business tool are losing a huge opportunity. A well crafted, communicated and operationalized vision has the power to unite, inspire and align the workforce behind the business goals.
But be wary of this word ‘vision.’ There can be no grey areas here either your company has a true vision or it doesn’t. I wonder how many leaders and employees can say that they have a clear and compelling picture of how they would like to see the company in the future. How many of us are driven by a vision to the extent that every single move we make, every single thing we do is done with that vision in mind?
Steve Jobs had a vision when he returned to the company after a long exile. He repositioned Apple’s image among employees and customers alike from a marginalized player overcome in the battle for market share to an elite company of creative innovators who dared to “Think different.” And the results speak for themselves.
Ford Motor Company intend to make it through the current downturn by focusing on ‘One Team, One Plan and One Goal,’ according to Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. Mulally shared his vision for One Ford during his keynote address at “A New Chapter: Restructuring the Automotive Industry,” a full-day conference on June 3, 2009, at The Dearborn Inn in Dearborn, Mich.
We all know the story of Apollo 13. The astronauts lost their sophisticated navigational equipment and developed a plan to guide their crippled spaceships home using battery power. This plan would work only on one condition – as long as they kept the picture of earth in their window. Their dream of returning to earth was reduced to one harsh but simple truth, if they lost sight of earth they would be lost forever.
Keeping the picture of the vision in the mind’s eye of everyone that works in the company is a critical leadership responsibility.
Think about it this way. There are 2 kinds of countries, 2 kinds of companies, 2 kinds of departments, 2 kinds of teams, families, individuals. Those who have a vision and those who do not; vision-driven or vision-less; vision-impaired or vision-inspired. Which one are you!
Please take this opportunity to download my new eBook “Using the Power of a Vision to Move Your Company Through the Recession”. This book is being offered free so that those leaders who chose to use a vision to help them as we recover from the recession, have a roadmap for assistance.