Last week, we did a short workshop about the importance of vision and strategic planning to ensure companies today are positioned to grow coming out of the pandemic. One of the questions we received after was, “why is having a vision so important?”.
Let’s start off with, what is a vision?
I once heard it described as, vision is the ability to close your eyes and imagine a future that does not yet exist. It is about being able to imagine your company or organization, beyond where it is today, while letting go of the mess, challenges and constraints you maybe dealing with, in this moment.
Why is it important?
Primarily it is important because it provides you with direction and it is a reminder of what your “end goal” is. When you share it with your team, it gives them the chance to get on board and to use their skills and knowledge to help you get there more quickly.
The simplest of explanations is to think about it in terms of making dinner. The moment you have the thought of making dinner, there are lots of options available. In your mind, you are thinking about all the great things you could make and at some point, you set your sights on that one dish. The next thing you know you are getting all the ingredients and doing your magic in the kitchen, until the point the dish is served.
If you never make the decision on what you are going to make, then you live with what presents itself. Sure, sometimes a great option presents itself (a friend invites you out for dinner), but more times than not, you end up eating chips and junk food. Do you eat? Sure, but you also end up not feeling great and likely beating yourself up for not making a healthier decision.
A vision is like being able to decide on the meal you are preparing. When you make the decision, then a lot of different things can fall in place.
- You know how to best utilize your resources (you know the ingredients you have in the cupboard);
- You can get the resources you don’t have (you can stop by the store on the way home).
- You can make sure you are not getting sidetracked with things that are less important (you don’t think about doing the laundry).
- You can put challenges in perspective and keep balanced around them (missing ingredients call for creativity)
- You can get the assistance you require to make it happen (recipes or goggle always make things easier).
And by far, the most important thing is, you don’t eat junk food and feel terrible.
No one ever said running and building a business was ever going to be easy. There are a lot of things that can come out of left field and try to derail you. It could be a currency shift or a sharp increase in the cost of an input, It could be a fire in your building or a strike by your employees, It could be the death of a key person….or a pandemic.
When a business owner or organizational leader doesn’t have a vision, then they only have the choice to react to these things.
Without a doubt, the past year has been challenging for a lot of business owners, but there have also been lots who have done well, even in hard hit industries. Looking out beyond where we are today, is incredibly important because there will be opportunities available that have never been there before. Those business owners and leaders who take the time to create a vision, will also be the ones prepared to capitalize on them.