It has been said by many, that if you commit a vision to paper, express it in detail, so that others can see this vision, and then communicate it broadly in some way, it shall become true. Do you believe in that?
As most leaders know, the most critical thing about a vision, is that the people following you get it, that they buy into it, and that they feel motivated enough to support and take action on it.
How often do companies fail to achieve the goals that they set out? Did they do a good enough job of describing the end point? Was it appealing enough to gain the support required? Were they willing to publicly state that future goal, to show their commitment?
The ones who do seem to make greater strides, even if they don’t fully achieve them in the timeframes set out. They tend to work hard to make them happen - to maintain commitments, to save face. So I believe that there is truth to the statement.
But I believe there is not only the element of drive for success that occurs - I think also that it tends to increase the belief in what is possible. For companies, it gives their employees an open, positive sense of direction, where fresh ideas might emerge, small steps are taken, and then a much larger leap is made over time. People put more effort into building that action plan, to removing barriers, and to making it happen when they are encouraged to help build it.
For projects, the same is true. If your team cannot clearly understand the desired endpoint, see the final outcomes happening (not just by the client but also by influential stakeholders), then the project team will have difficulty aligning, and each person or disciplinary group will tend to work in different directions according to whatever is pictured in their own mind as success. So, in a team environment, you need to start the visioning process, but involve the major players to ensure they've helped establish and visualize that together.
An exercise that has been suggested, to facilitate setting a clear vision, is to imagine your perfect day. To describe it in detail, where you might be, how you might feel, what you can see and smell, and more. This may be a bit more difficult with a team - but a healthy exercise to make sure people can come to the same frame of mind before moving forward.
So, for today, to set an example, I put business visions, and work aside for just a minute - I’ve written about those before anyways. And I write about a perfect day.
Perhaps it will come to be my every day - through efforts of my own, or by chance, or both! (We all know that achieving goals takes work - planning, removing risks and barriers to its realization, and progressive action until complete - but that is for another day…)
My perfect day:
I wake on my own accord, after a restful, fabulous sleep, snuggled in my cozy bed, with the sun lighting the room. I get up first, while everyone else sleeps in just a bit - a quiet shower, a few stretches, a hot coffee while my mind comes alive. I might read, or browse some news, email, or social posts of interest. My dog curls up beside me to snooze a bit more.
It’s a beautiful sunny day out, the air fresh, a light breeze rustling the trees, and it is a good day for walking.
When I’ve finished my coffee, I wake the kids, getting them up for their breakfast, their busy school day. They are sleepy, but content, and rise without issue. They eat peacefully, and get their bags ready to go, telling me about what they will be doing today. My husband comes downstairs after his shower - he is nearly ready for his day too. And then it is time for the kids to be off - goodbye!
I make some breakfast for my hubby and I, and we chat easily while we eat. What will we do today?
I tell him that I plan to work for a few hours, starting with some solid writing and content generation in the morning. Later this afternoon, I will prepare for a few interviews and coaching sessions I have with students and clients later this week. But in between, I will have a light lunch and then walk down by the beach with our dog, or perhaps drive out to the wooded trails - she loves either one. Always running and playing in the sand and surf, or exploring and darting through the trees, scurrying the chipmunks and birds. She’s fun to watch and brings a smile to my face every time.
My husband decides to do some work this morning too - he’s not as much to do today, and he’ll come walking with me later. He has plans to make a gourmet meal for dinner, and will go shopping after our walk to get some fresh supplies - a surprise that we’ll all enjoy. I’m thrilled, of course, as I always am when he cooks like this - he enjoys it and it tastes so good! I can’t wait, and when the kids hear about it they’ll want to help out too. It’s great seeing them transform foods in the kitchen - they have such talent, my little smarty pants in school and master chefs at home!
I sit back and relish in the progress that we’ve made - we have no hurries, no worries, no stresses to manage now. We’ve paid off the house, our vehicles, and we buy what we need, when we need it. We aren’t wasteful, but having money to spend at our leisure brings a level of comfort and security that was unexpected. We have had a few good years to put us ahead, and work has been consistent - not too heavy, as I prefer, and bringing in enough income that my husband was able to quit his corporate job and shift to helping out with the business.
It’s nice that neither of us needs to put in more than a half day on average each day. We choose how we schedule our days and weeks. We choose the work we’d like to take on. It’s brought an ease to our life, and we don’t want for anything, really.
Next year, we plan on traveling a bit more, working from afar, giving back a little more too - I’m investigating various volunteer projects overseas. The kids will enjoy seeing some new parts of the world, and it is great experience for them too. Everything’s online and functioning smoothly for work - and besides, I have access to great support staff who take care of the little things, as needed. I know it will be a fabulous way to run our business and live life - at least for a while.
But for now, I need to get those few things done, as I mentioned, and I’m done my breakfast. And so my day has begun.
Were you able to envision my day too?
If you have never attempted to do this, I encourage you to try! It takes a bit of work, but each time you do it, you get better at filling in the gaps...and it really makes you realize the level of effort that should go into setting a vision with your team!
Will you be attending the PMI Global congress in San Diego? You can schedule a face-to-face chat with me in the “Ask An Expert” sessions and meet me in the Solutions Centre (exhibit hall). Book your session here.