At some point, each leader is tasked with creating a vision statement, a short verbal description of an organization’s mission, purpose, and values. That’s fine, but wait: Shouldn’t a vision statement include an image? After all, vision statements are not called “wordy jargon statements that no one believes, remembers, or cares about.”
But that’s how most end up. Think about it. When was the last time you read an organization’s vision statement that motivated you to put aside what you were doing and stick with it?
Vision statements fail for two main reasons: first, they usually don’t contain a destination that can be achieved or a goal that can be achieved, and second, by trying to capture everything an organization stands for, they end up usually by saying nothing. .
A vision statement should be a statement of a destination and a goal, of course, but it should also function as a short story (a very short story) that captivates everyone in the audience: ears, eyes. , mind and heart. There’s a simple way to do this: For a story to capture someone’s interest, it has to have a hero, the hero has to have a conflict, and that conflict has to be a singular one. If your hero is trying to fix six things, it’s hard to keep cheering him on.
Chief, you are on a quest
As a leader, you are on a quest. You lead your team toward a specific goal, and of the thousand things the job demands, none are more important than your ability to describe that destination.
If you are the coach of a basketball team, your goal is to win the game, or at least lose with honor. If you are the CEO of a service company, your destination is profitable customer satisfaction. If you are the technology team leader, your destination offers the best possible solution, on time and on budget.
At the center of every quest is a hero, the person (or group) seeking to improve their life, either for themselves or for the benefit of someone else. As a leader, that hero could be you, your team, your brand, your business, or better yet, your customer.
No matter what your business, organization, or team does on a daily basis, your true vision, your true destination, is likely to fall into one of the seven classic quests. Find this quest, and you have found your vision.
As a leader, your task is to use this to guide the creation of your true vision statement, and from that, to create the symbol that shows the way.
Think about teams that share a goal. Beyond a single goal and a leader to guide them, what else do they have in common? They all have a mission patch.
Your mission patch is your destination made visible. It’s a simple image that, when looked at, even for a heartbeat, reminds you of where you hope to go. It serves as a non-verbal map of direction and destination, an icon that perfectly expresses your idea, belief, or brand without saying a word. A mission badge is a visual good luck charm to keep in your pocket and watch if you get lost. It’s your talisman, an instant home reminder.
To create your team’s mission patch, you will need two things: first, the clarity of the destination, and second, an image to express it. Clarity usually comes in one of two ways: finding your true passion or determining your business goal. If you are truly blessed, they could both be the same.
To find your vision image, go back to the seven quests as a starting point.
Your return trip is your return to the Promised Land, the most classic of quests. Whether it’s taking back your mountain, returning home after the war, or battling endless obstacles to reach your loved ones, everyone understands the power of coming home.
Your vision for âback homeâ leadership could be:
Take back your rightful market share (Steve Jobs returning to Apple AAPL,
Help your clients find their families (Red Cross).
Win the prize
As a classic quest, âwinning the prizeâ takes different forms, such as winning the race or overcoming obstacles to find your better and stronger self. No matter the price or the obstacles in the end, the real race is against yourself.
This is Nike NKE,
saying, “Just do it.”
It might not be pretty, but taking revenge on those who have wronged you has an undeniable sweetness. The righteous outrage has led to as many quests as anything in our best nature (Hamlet, the Crusades). This is the darkest of the quest grounds, but make no mistake about it: revenge really motivates.
Your ‘get revenge’ leadership vision might be:
Take down the team that took you down (Yankees and Red Sox)
Finally beat the competition (Chevy GM,
Silverado and Ford F,
Improve by trying to catch the competition (Pepsi PEP,
and Coca-Cola KO,
Slay the dragon
Long before Beowulf attacked the monster Grendel 1,500 years ago, killing the dragon had been at the heart of more quests than anything else. Whether it’s a real dragon, the Death Star, or the devil within, nothing motivates better than killing the beast that’s determined to kill you.
This is the deepest and most personal of all quests because being reborn means losing the fight for your spirit to come back stronger. This is the ultimate âHero’s Journeyâ, sacrificing your comfortable life through suffering so that you become a better version of yourself.
This is Howard Schultz closing all Starbucks SBUX,
in America in 2008 for a global reset.
Climb the mountain
Earning gold is one thing; people watch and applaud. Climbing to the top is another: no medals, deadly cold and loneliness; it’s just you, the mountain and the elements. It’s any trek whose end is uncertain, but you do it anyway. It is a task that you undertake not for monetary gain, but because it is there – and you will be a better person for the effort.
Your ‘climb the mountain’ leadership vision might stay in your ‘silly’ dream until everyone finally sees how awesome it is (Ben & Jerry’s).
Find true love
The last great quest is that of your heart; find true love in a world of deception, cynicism and anger. This is Disney DIS,
buy Pixar, a business alliance made in Hollywood heaven.
Mission patch ready, your destination is clear, and your visual vision is ready to be shared.