One of the symptoms of the “shiny object syndrome” we mentioned in our last article was the tendency to rush towards trendy tactics rather than timeless principles. We often attend to the urgent at the expense of the important. Months or years later, it’s not unusual to find ourselves having drifted, purposeless and out of steam.
Fight this tendency by revisiting and recasting vision. For yourself. For your organization.
Revisit the Vision
When you revisit your organization’s vision, you can shed unnecessary pursuits and meaningless messaging, and ensure you reconnect with your “why”.
I know this doesn’t seem like such a novel idea. It really isn’t. If we’re honest, though, we’ll admit how difficult it is to actually make time to get clear or reacquainted with the reason behind our service—our purpose.
Rather than talk or read about it, take a few minutes and isolate yourself from the hustle around you to revisit your vision, and your organization’s purpose.
Ask yourself these questions:
- 20 years from now, what will be the result of our tireless work?
- How will our work impact the lives of our customers, their families, and the community?
- How will our work affect our team if we diligently do the things we’ve set out to do?
- What is the big picture outcome our service provides?
- What would go undone if our organization did not exist?
Start writing down possible answers to this question. Don’t stop until you have exhausted all the possibilities you can think of, and definitely don’t stop until you have articulated one possibility you feel inspired by. This should be something that inspires your team also. More importantly, this should be something that your customers would really get behind.
The result will be a Vision or Purpose Statement that will reignite your passion. It will give you direction. It works! I know this because it has worked for me every time I took the time to do it.
Recast the Vision
Once you have articulated a few great options, invite your team into the process. Ask them about it, and see the reaction you get. Even though you are responsible for the vision of your organization, often time your team will help you crystalize it. Their participation in the process will automatically engage them in a way no pep talk or written procedures could. The younger generation, who generally appreciate intrinsic values over external rewards, tend to engage with an organization that takes time to cast vision. Paint a picture of a desired positive future.
If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. — Steve Jobs
Gather the team and remind everyone of your commitment to this vision. Once more, explain what your organization stands for. Paint a picture of the long term results and their impact on the lives of your customers. Encourage questions and conversations around it. The more everyone understands that vision the less activity management you will need to exert. A simple but well-articulated vision will increase overall engagement and preserve Brand clarity.
Recast the vision often. Restate your organization purpose frequently, with words and actions.
A few tips on maximizing your results:
- Block time on your schedule. Answering a few questions doesn’t seem to require a lot of time, but getting in the right frame of mind does. I don’t think less than 45 minutes would yield any great results. Take an hour or more to do it.
- Find or reserve the best setting. You know what works best for you, do your best to reserve the location. I like nature; either in my backyard or somewhere outdoors overlooking the water or the woods. Do it somewhere removed from distractions.
- Cut out any social media, phone, or email use while doing this. Nothing’s worse than a trivial interruption that breaks your ability to imagine and connect with your purpose.
- Don’t stop as soon as you get something decent. Keep thinking, imagining, visualizing, and journaling your thoughts. Evaluate your ideas later. The part of your brain doing the imagining and visualization is different than the part of your brain that analyzes, assesses, and evaluates your options.
- Go forward and look back. Fast forward 10-20 years, and visualize your results. Not your current results, but the results of 10-20 years of positive contribution.
- Best case scenario-it! When imagining the results, discard mediocre results, imagine the kinds of results that make you smile feeling grateful about the contribution you and your organization were able to make.
- Articulate the final statement everyone is excited about in present tense. Bring the effects of the future into the present.
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