The Vision Thing

A short explanation that demonstrates the criticality of Vision.


An overused and misunderstood term. A vision is designed to allow us to explain our biggest idea and then tell our strategic story. The idea is everything. Without an idea we have nothing to inspire our people or our audiences. Without it we cannot develop a strategy, an operational approach or a road-map towards our future. We have no anchor, no guiding point on the horizon.

We want to define the really big thought that inspires us and makes us want to get up every day to achieve it. Visions are not easy to describe. The most powerful are short and pithy – surprising and simple.

Right now the most visible example is Steve Jobs Apple – ‘A Computer On Everyone’s Desk.’ Although still not achieved (no vision ever is) it is easy to see what he saw and wanted to achieve. It drives that business to this day and everyone knows what it means. It has a clear and crisp aspect to it that nobody can misunderstand and you either go with it or you can go and do something else.

Armed with that statement it became very clear what needed to be done. Make a business that strives to achieve it. All the things that that meant for Apple became the tactics and strategies to achieve it.

Clear Intention

In our experience one of the biggest barriers to successful strategy is the lack of clarity of the challenge. Most challenges are multi-dimensional so it’s hardly surprising that it is tough – and getting the intentions agreed is the vital first step. By intention we mean everything that is driving our passion towards the future outcome. What is it that we really really want?

Without getting too deeply into this it’s surprising how few businesses really understand where they are headed. They are unsure where they want to aim and often why the objective is stated in the way it is. Much of this is about both the conscious and subconscious workings of the leadership, the legacy of the business and/or the failure to address this level of clarity over time – how that came to be the intention in the first place.

It’s always interesting to pose the following question to get this answered. “It is our intention to…?”

Created live by teams in our sessions:

NB: This image was originally drawn 8 Feet x 10 Feet

1 comment

  • David Holt September 5, 2012

    Our inner landscape of unquestioned assumptions influences us just as much as real mountains, real products, real conversation. We just don’t investigate our inner world in the same practical ways that we investigate our outer world. And we think this bias makes us realistic.

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johncaswell @johncaswell
John Caswell  @johncaswell
"Without interdependence, nothing could exist.” - Thich Nhat Hanh #quite @tifferly 

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