Ever been part of a company or church organization and you’ve quietly asked yourself, what is the vision here? What are we trying to accomplish? In more times than not, if you are asking yourself that question, probably other people are asking it too.
When people say the name of your church or business, what is the first thing they think of? If people are having a hard time explaining the organization’s vision – than vision is not sticking. Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church, Atlanta, GA, says, “For vision to stick it must be portable, memorable and motivational.”
When you think of Nike, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Just Do It. Phil Knight, the founder and CEO of Nike suffused his company culture along with their advertising campaign with the idea of the intense, inwardly focused competitor. The “Just Do It” campaign captured the Nike’s corporate philosophy of grit, determination and passion. Why? Because it was portable, memorable and motivational.
In prior years, we watched the national election campaigns. What was Barack Obama’s platform and vision for America? Change We Can Believe In. What was John McCain’s? I really can’t remember it, do you? What was Hillary Clinton’s? Don’t remember hers either. But all of us can remember Obama’s vision and campaign platform. Whether you agree or disagree with Obama’s politics is beside the point, because in the end, the Obama campaign made their vision portable, memorable and motivational.
How do you make vision portable?
1. Focus Your Vision – It’s been said, “If you can’t manage it, you can’t measure it.” Just because you have a nice slogan on your website, business card or banner doesn’t mean your organization has a thriving vision. If you look at what some organizations are doing and measure it against their claims, what you’ll find is often inconsistency. You can manage and measure focused vision, but not unfocused vision. Too many church and business organizations are doing too little by doing way too much. Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great referenced the ancient Greek parable of “The Fox and the Hedgehog.” Day after day, the cunning fox plans his attack on the unsuspected hedgehog. No matter how creative the fox is, the hedgehog always wins. Why? The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog only knows one big thing. Each time the fox attacks; the hedgehog simply rolls up into a ball of sharp spikes, creating an impenetrable defense. It’s what he does best. So, I ask you, what can you be the best at? The only way to create a focused vision is by focusing on the few things that you do very well. Identifying and strengthening what you are good at will help create that focused vision. Always remember, Less is More.
2. Cast Your Vision – Casting vision is a never-ending responsibility for any leader. Just when you think your vision has been casted enough, cast it one more time! But cast it strategically. Define what your vision is and who and what it is supposed to effect. Just when you think you’ve thoroughly explained the vision, it’s time to start over and communicate it again. You can never over communicate your vision.
3. Celebrate Your Vision – Develop a process systemically within your organization to celebrate your vision in its successes. Rejoice with your team when someone makes a home run for your organization. Reward those who live-out the vision. Celebrating vision is simply reminding people where you are going by pointing out real life examples of individuals on your team that’s driving your vision forward.
At the end of the day, vision doesn’t become portable, memorable and motivational just because of a fancy slogan or a slick advertising campaign. Vision becomes portable by the way you focus it, cast it and celebrate it. When vision is portable it becomes contagious! That is my prayer for you and your organizations’ that you will lead with contagious vision.