by Dr. Oleg Konovalov, author of “The Vision Code: How to Create and Execute a Compelling Vision for your Business“
Life is not a place we live but a path we take. We craft the path to that future where success comes when our expectations of the future are finally met. In other words, it reflects that we walked in the right direction without losing sight of our goal regardless of struggles and challenges.
No one can complete this journey without a clear understanding of what is important and what drains your energy for nothing. All successful businesses have three common elements that made them stand out – a strong vision, productive culture and focus.
There are millions of businesses that are meaningless, and they are dying like insects because leaders are not thinking about making their businesses meaningful. The difference between meaningless and meaningful and valuable for you and others is a clear and strong vision.
Vision is an aspiration for the future that we strive to make a reality today. Vision comes when your conscious awareness of a problem you want to solve for the benefit of others reaches its peak.
When there is no vision, no amount of effort or money can help. With vision, real change can be achieved.
Vision is a ladder which a capable leader uses to reach success. John Spence, one of the top global thought leaders, who at the age of 26 was the CEO of the International Rockefeller Foundation overseeing projects in 20 countries, commented on the importance of vision for any business –
‘If you don’t have a vividly clear, compelling, and well-communicated vision then people come to work every day and they don’t know what they are supposed to do. They do the job, but don’t know why or where they or the company is going.’
Unclear goals and mere dreams don’t get anyone far. They accomplish nothing. Only clear goals inspire focused support where unclear goals are like obstacles in the road.
Think of three questions when creating your vision:
- What would make the world different with your vision being implemented?
- What is the value for people in your vision?
- Is it worth your full commitment?
If vision is a belief in the positive future, then culture is the belief system which underlies it. Culture is a productive interaction wrapped into a shared vision.
Culture provides the inner psychological energy to an organization and instills a sense of purpose. Culture is that energy that comes from the joint efforts and enthusiastic fulfillment of duties of all employees, and, as a result, adds spark and life to all processes.
Culture reflects leadership. Culture can’t be expected to become positive and productive itself along the way. Therefore, a visionary must have a vision for culture as well from the very beginning of this long journey.
People will engage only if the company is fully engaged in them. If no care exists in relation to employees, then no engagement can be expected in return. Care is a verb expressing actions for others.
Don’t forget that culture is the soul of an organization. Those who control the soul, control the body, i.e., organization.
Think of two questions:
- Do you have a clear vision of culture that makes people stronger together?
- Who controls and takes care of culture?
Focus defines perspective – what to win, how to win, at what cost to win, and when to win. Half the execution battle is won if the focus is set clearly and maintained across the team.
Loralyn Mears, PhD, founder of STEERus and home of the world’s first Soft Skills Academy, commented – ‘Focus is everything. If you take your eye off the ball, you could miss an important insight from the market or prospective customer, you could miss an evolving team dynamic that has the potential to escalate into something unmanageable, or you could be giving your own company less than it deserves to make your vision real. Establish your vision and then focus on how you bring it to life.’
The leader’s role is to maintain the team’s will and focus. This is where many businesses fail being focused on the plans and not the execution of the vision.
Being focused means making rational use of resources for the achievement of this goal. A team with a focused understanding of a goal understands the resources it will require. What matters most is what will be delivered in the end. Focus is a central point of attention that pulls the effort of all involved in execution together and defines the deliverables.
Ask yourself three questions:
- What are the three core things on which you should stay focused?
- What do you do now that is nonrelevant or misaligning?
- How much does this misalignment cost you?
Success demands clarity of a vision, a strong productive culture, and laser-sharp focus. Success at any cost is an attitude that sounds desperate rather than effective. It wouldn’t attract investors into business or professionals to join you. No one sensible would be prepared to invest money, time, effort, or reputation into something desperate and ineffective.
Dr. Oleg Konovalov is a thought leader, educator, coach, and author of “The Vision Code: How to Create and Execute a Compelling Vision for your Business“.