Paul Kinvig, Business Growth Coach and Facilitator at Aspirin Business Solutions
In the year of my birth, one of history’s greatest speeches was delivered by Martin Luther King. Now most of us know the “I Have A Dream” section and the “Free At Last” ending, but the whole thing is simply jaw dropping. Because, if you read it, you cannot fail to be challenged & inspired but above all else be left in no doubt as to his vision of a different future where, to paraphrase ‘character content is more important than race’, he finishes with the famous declaration “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
As we shared in our last blog, it’s the combination of passion and strategy that creates the foundation for achieving business goals. However, it’s the creation of a clear & compelling vision that keeps us focused and attracts, retains & inspires our team and customers. And the vision has to be built around values – the driving forces that are wrapped up in its leaders’ personal & business DNA. When you read ‘I Have A Dream’, Mr King’s values of fairness, justice, peace & hope ring out clearly out in his closing words – and resonate deeply with those with matching values. It’s the resonance that creates the focus and attraction and reminds us, during even the darkest days, why we’re doing what we do!
So in constructing our vision, we first need to consider the question, ‘What are our values?’ It might seem like a simple one to answer but is it? It goes to the very heart of why we do what we do & what we do it for. Discovering what truly drives & motivates us gives the foundation for a vision that is authentic and powerful. It’s when we attempt to follow something that isn’t ‘ours’ or alternatively deny those core values that are ‘ours’ that the power of resonance is diminished.
It could be that what we value is to use our knowledge to make a difference. It could be that we’re driven to deliver excellence, or to keep people safe or to create something of beauty. Or perhaps it’s similar to our own – to help people live fully by pulling together to overcome challenges.
So once we’ve truly understood our values, what constitutes a powerful vision?
- Be Sharp – It’s pretty much accepted that the shorter and punchier the vision, the more likely it will be remembered. There is a story told of Sergey Brin and Larry Page from Google expressing their company’s vision in a single sentence to some potential investors: “Google provides access to the world’s information in one click!”
- Be Specific – The more specific we can be in our visions then the more we are likely to build belief, commitment and purpose in both our colleagues AND customers! When John F Kennedy, in 1961, said his vision was to put a man on the moon and return him safely by the last day of the 60’s, that vision caught the imagination of the nation….and it happened!
- Be Consistent – One of the core learning processes of any human being is repetition. The more we see, hear, touch & experience something the more we remember and adopt. Our vision needs to be constantly repeated using ALL the channels at our disposal – interviews, social media, e-mail footers, staff noticeboards & intranet, packaging, marketing materials etc. This is how it keeps us focused and attracts, retains and inspires our team and our customers.
- Be Emotional – There is a greatly used phrase in the art of successful presenting and it is this – “Persuade with logic, inspire with emotion!” The language of vision is highly important as we need to connect with people emotionally in order to inspire them. One read of Martin Luther Kings’ speech will show you that he knew that his vision needed to inspire people to overcome incredible challenges, undertake personal sacrifice and potentially for them not see the fruit of their commitment realised. However, that vision struck people in such a way as to inspire them to acts of bravery that started a fundamental change.
Here at Aspirin, we often start by helping our clients create their vision. Their openness and honesty in sharing how they want the business to develop, and what they truly value, builds trust and a strong bond that enables them to quickly agree on how they’ll achieve that vision – and what they will and won’t change. Worth a conversation?