Everyone Should Have a ‘Vision’

I used to tell myself that I need a plan. Without a plan how can you achieve your goals?


But I should also have been asking about my goals – what is my ‘vision’ of the future? You need a clear vision of where you are headed in order to come up with a plan.


The key ingredient to success, professionally and personally, is the presence of a vision.


We all need a vision – a picture of where we want to be at some point of time in the future. It really doesn’t matter how clear or colourful or large or small it is. It just needs to be there. The vision will drive the plan. The plan drives the team, the work, the money and more.
Maybe there is some confusion between the ‘Vision Statement’ and the ‘Vision’ I am trying to define here. Maybe I am using the wrong word.



The vision I am talking about answers the questions:
– What do you want to be when you grow up?
– Where do you want to be in three years.
– Where will your company be in five years


These questions are not answered by a vision statement as we all know the term.


“PepsiCo’s responsibility is to continually improve all aspects of the world in which we operate – environment, social, economic – creating a better tomorrow than today. Our vision is put into action through programs and a focus on environmental stewardship, activities to benefit society, and a commitment to build shareholder value by making PepsiCo a truly sustainable company.”


Nice vision statement but not what I am looking for. If I asked Indra Nooyi, the current CEO of Pepsi, what her vision for the company was I don’t think I would get the statement above. I would hope to hear about share price, company growth goals, and organization milestones.


If I asked my daughter where she wants to be in three years’ time, I am looking for her vision – her desired state in three years. I would hope to hear “working for Pepsi, in the Toronto area, probably living in the downtown area and able to support my lifestyle.” Nice.


The next logical question would be of course “how are you going to accomplish this? What’s the plan? “ And we will get to that in another blog post. But from the top… you can’t have a plan without a vision


A great leader needs to have a vision of the future. We can’t just run forward into the market rudderless. We need direction. But the direction we are headed towards needs to be pointing to some end goal or a ‘vision’. We run our organizations with a strategic plan. But that plan is not possible if we don’t know where we are going.


Once we have a vision of the future, clear and well-defined, we need to do two things:
– Create the plan
– Communicate the vision to all involved


One of the problems with organizations today is the lack of clarity – from the top to the bottom. A few key people may have created the vision but was it well communicated to the team(s)?


That vision needs to be clearly communicated to the team(s) and there needs to be a sound plan in place to make it happen.


So what is your vision? For your department? For your company? For you? For your family? If you are struggling with this then you are missing the key ingredient to success.


Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.


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2 thoughts on “Everyone Should Have a ‘Vision’”

  1. David how right you are! How many times have we seen failures because people don’t know where they are heading. Given the vision followed up with a plan and everyone feels motivated for success.
    You’re also true that this applies in our personal lives, how often when we start our careers we have this lofty vision of where we want to be in 5 and 10 years, but what happens when we’ve reached that vision, do we stop and re-evaluate. Do we set a new vision or are we too involved in the day-to-day and thus sail off course. We all need to take an important step to stop and reset our visions and plan our course not only for our businesses but for ourselves.

  2. This makes a great deal of sense. One of the first things we learned in the Schulich BA program last fall was to create a vision for each project. I like how you bring the idea of vision into the everyday with this article.

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