Vision statements have multiplied in front of me this week. Authentic vision statements are challenging to craft. We want to tell people exactly where we are going and dispense with aspirations since details feel actionable. A vision should tell us which remarkable journey is worthy of loading on supplies and raising the sails. A vision is does not need a confirmed itinerary and we can point with a finger to a general direction on the map for which we intend to set course. A vision gives us an emotional assessment if boarding your ship to join the adventure is significantly compelling. We can sort out the details later.
Attending a board meeting for an independent school today, I was struck by the realization that we had not only accomplished some of our strategic initiatives but had surged off the scale. Incredible momentum. How had we done this? The Head of School has been telling the school’s story for years and expressing a vision that far exceeded the scope of the plan. He was dreaming big but not focusing on the details. He could tell his audience why the project was important. At the right moment a confluence of circumstances such as budgeting (a reduction in building costs), momentum (very motivated donors), and talent (board members with immense experience as project managers) produced an oppening to realize an even greater dream. Equally important was the attribute of trust. The Board and Head of School trusted that the vision was revolutionary and essential.
The Head of School has been telling the school’s story, creating a following of those who were ready to invest in taking the dream across the matrix and into reality.
How big is your enterprise’s dream and who is sharing the vision?
What qualifies a champion as deserving? When a sports team or individual competitor wins a game or tournament there is often an quick assessment about the quality of the victory. Frequent descriptions include: unexpected, deserving, stolen, etc. I often wonder what a deserving victor looks like? Did the winner travel the appropriate path? Did they win with style? Does the team’s values match that of their fans? Is it an assessment of ethics?
The social sector equivalent comes when a cause attempts to manifest its vision. The community judge the worthiness of an enterprise’s strategic initiative. Is the proposed action deserving of the stakeholders’ support? Does it warrant financial support? Are individuals willing to recommend it to colleagues and friends?
Sometimes very needed and appropriate opportunities are not advanced because the community deems them to be undeserving or a lesser priority. Other scenarios involve what appears to be a frivolous opportunity being advanced because a few people of influence can assemble sufficient resources to move forward without needing a large group of supporters.
How do you prepare your community to brand your enterprise’s project as deserving? What steps do you need to do in advance? Is it contingent on the relationships you maintain? What is the tipping point?