VISION: If you can’t see it, you can’t become it.

I started to learn to play tennis when I was 14. My high school team needed people to fill out the team, and I thought, “What the heck. I’ll give it a try”. 
 
I fell in love with the game.  I had a great coach, and one of the things he taught me early on was I needed to be able to ‘see the shot’ I wanted to hit.  Envision it.  Execute it.  I was skeptical at first, but when I picked off a tennis can in the service court by ‘seeing myself execute the serve’, I started to believe.  This turns out to be what all great athletes in any sport do – they envision the outcome and then they do the work to make it happen.
 
Business is no different.  A company with a clearly articulated, written vision – literally a destination on paper – that everyone understands and can see in their minds increases their likelihood of achieving that vision by 50%*. Add the word “compelling” to that vision, and you’ve got a formula that will empower your team to overcome any obstacle they encounter.
 
Vision is the critical foundation for overcoming the Big 5 Frustrations business owners face.
 
While keeping that vision alive is one of the most important things a leader does in the business, it’s far from easy.  People are easily distracted, become frustrated, lose enthusiasm, and ultimately they lose the vision. The leader “brings them back”, helps them envision the future again, clears obstacles and provides the resources to get back on the right path. 
 
It’s not enough to have a vision. You need to work towards it. Chart a course, rally the team and implement these 3 steps:
 
1. Make it measurable. If you don’t have a way to measure whether you are achieving your vision or not, it’s pretty tough for your team to know if they are making progress. At best, you will get their best effort, but is it the right effort? What gets measured, gets done.
 
2. Establish benchmarks. You have determined what to measure. Now you need to set benchmarks. It’s a series of small steps to the larger vision that serve a map your team can use to navigate progress and create momentum.
 
3. Celebrate successes.  You set the measurements. They hit the benchmarks. Make sure you stop and celebrate as a team to recognize the effort and results. Then refocus, re-state the vision, set your sights on the next benchmark and go.
 
Most people like to win, to be on a winning team. But they need to understand what it means to win, what success looks like. They need to see how their contributions get the company closer to its goal.
 
This takes work.  It requires leaders to lead, not just be leaders by title. Your job as a leader is to craft a clear vision. You must put it in writing, build consensus with the leadership team, and then get EVERYONE in the company 100% on board with the vision.
 
When the team is hitting on all cylinders, the outcome is extraordinary. The team grows in confidence, competency and its ability to generate real results on their own because now they see, believe and own the vision.
 
And the hidden gem in all of this? You get your time back. Now that’s a vision worth building.
 
 
 *study conducted in 2011 by Dr. Gail Mathers of Dominican University.