Clarity Of Vision

I have a puppy named Walter and it’s always a challenge getting him to go on runs with me. Simply put; he loves to play and is easily distracted.

I became very aware of this because I park my car about a mile and a half away from The Garden Gate Cafe where we have breakfast each morning during our run. As we take off on the gravel trails winding through wilderness and horse ranches, Walter’s attention is immediately drawn to any of the prairie dogs, rabbits, or squirrels we come across on our path. These distractions limit us to about a 12-minute-mile pace at best. That’s pretty slow in anybody’s book.

But, as we get closer to the cafe, about halfway through the run, he gets clarity about where we are going. The surroundings become familiar and he picks up the pace; now running an 8-minute mile pace with me fighting to even keep up.

So, what changed? At that half-way point, he gets a clear vision of where we are going. Walter loves The Garden Gate Cafe. You see, as we come sprinting into the dining patio, they immediately bring him a ration of fresh bacon and a big bowl of ice water! Plus, everyone that passes by pets him and tells him how cute and beautiful he is.

After our breakfast, we head back to the car, and once again, the same thing happens. He starts off distracted, but once he knows we are heading home, he’s like a bolt of lightning.

All of us are a bit like Walter, aren’t we? We NEED a compelling vision. Without one, we get distracted and unproductive. Once we find clarity and purpose, we take off running.

How clear and compelling is your current vision? Can you and your people “smell the bacon”?

Many companies and teams today, after being thrown into extended periods of Remote Working and dramatically changing markets, are struggling with gaining clarity of their vision and making it as compelling as it needs to be. This has a direct impact on the strategy they roll out and how people respond to it.

Here are my steps to uncovering a clarity of vision and strategy for your company that will propel you forward:

  1. Assess your current condition and understand people’s reality that they are living. Don’t waste too much time trying to align and agree on each other’s current reality. It just doesn’t matter.
  2. Gather insights and tendencies related to markets and customers. This is to help fuel a forward-looking perspective.
  3. Unite a group of leaders and place yourselves three to five years ahead in a visualized future and “see, hear, taste, smell and feel” your dream of true bold success. Actually “be in the future” when you do this exercise. Unlike your different current realities from step 1, you do have to agree and align 100% on the future!
  4. Look back from that vantage point of success and ask yourselves, “How did we get here” to identify a bold, big block road map towards success. That’s a very different question than, “How can we get there”, and it delivers incredibly BOLD results.
  5. Pull in the extended teams to build the details and the actions necessary inside your new big block road map. These are your front-line people and they will have great ideas. Plus, they need to co-build to truly be co-owners of both the vision and the strategy.

I’ve been doing this very process with companies over the past 15 years and results have been remarkable. Sometimes, the visions and strategies they came up with seemed ridiculous and beyond belief when they initially created the vision, and in many cases, they came true all the same.

As Peter McWilliams said, “To visualize is to see what is not there, what is not real – a dream. To visualize is, in fact, to make visual lies. Visual lies, however, have a way of coming true.”

If you would like to learn more, my book “Time Machine Leadership explores this dynamic in detail and is based on real case studies. Or, just reach out and we can talk through it at your convenience.

Want to learn more about how Scott can help your company with M&A integration, corporate turn-around, executive & team performance, and growth acceleration, click here.