Early in my consulting career, I worked extensively with Wilson Sporting Goods. One day I interviewed an elderly gentleman who was the wood head designer. He worked closely with Wilson’s PGA professionals (Sam Sneed, etc.) to create custom clubs. He took a liking to me and at one point, lowering his voice and looking me in the eye said, “I want to tell you a secret.” He said, “Before each shot, the best pros visualize how they’ll hit the ball, how it will go through the air, and how it will land ending up exactly where they want it to be.”
Too many companies have uninspiring vision statements that follow a form:
“(Name of company) will be the best (nature of the business) in the world, providing world-class (product or service) to our customers.”
What’s the point of that? It lacks energy, enthusiasm and meaning, it’s uninspiring, uninteresting, indistinguishable from competitors, and worst of all, it doesn’t provide a vivid picture of the future.
A vision is a clear picture of where you want to go and how you’ll get there. It is what you are striving to accomplish. It is vitally important for two reasons: First, it is the heart of strategy. Second, done right, it is a powerful way to get your organization focused on the strategy.