March 28, 2022

Define Your Vision Statement In A More Inspiring Way

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Posted by Sharmarke Hujale

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4 min read

Defining a clear and concise vision inspires people. It gives people the opportunity to imagine a desired future state of a world that does not exist. Yet it's so compelling that it inspires them to make that vision a part of their life.

Today's business and organizations' vision statement merely tells what they do or the products that they sell.

Most of these vision statements sound like this:

"We want to be the world's leading company in [insert industry]" or "We want to be the most preferred [insert industry] in [places of location].

The author of The Invincible Leader Zach Mercurio, Ph.D. talks about how most vision statements lack the act of envisioning. "Envisioning is the collective act of vividly imagining and “seeing” the world as it could be because of why you are."

A good vision statement depicts an ideal that you imagine of what the world could look like.

Simon Sinek talks about a vision as a Just Cause in his book The Infinite Game. He proposes 5 criteria as guidelines in order to define a vision statement that inspires people.

  1. For something—the vision should be positive and specific. Standing for something as opposed to standing against something, will likely last longer and inspire.
  2. Inclusive—a good vision is an invitation to all those who want to contribute, despite the skillset. A vision narrowed to specific products or activities may make some people feel like their contributions don't matter. The story of a janitor at NASA is a great example.
  3. Service-oriented—the ones benefitting from the vision should not be the contributors. The product and services you built to advance your vision should benefit others, not your own self-interests.
  4. Resilient—a good vision statement should be able to endure political, technological, and social change. If a vision is focused on a specific technology, and there's a change in the market. The vision won't last.
  5. Idealistic—a good vision should be big, bold, and unattainable. It's about pursuing the infinite. It's about inspiring people to feel that they are being a part of something bigger than themselves.

How to state a vision statement that inspires

1—Imagine what the world would look like if your organization has fulfilled its purpose. From a technological, social, political standpoint, what would the world look and feel like? Write the keywords down as they can help you in the next process of imagining.

2—A helpful way is to state your vision with the beginning phrase "I imagine a world where..." or "I envision a world where...". It really makes the difference as you put your mind in a state of imagining a desired future state.

3—You have probably seen a vision statement that has a lot of bullet points or is written as long paragraphs. A good vision statement should be short and concise. Try to aim at one or two lines to capture the world that you imagine.

4—Use Simon Sinek's criteria of a Just Cause during the process of defining a vision statement that lasts. It's also important that the vision doesn't include what the company or the organization does, that has its place in the mission of a company or organization.

Examples of good vision statements

I love examples as they give us a better understanding of sometimes complex ideas.

A great example is Simon Sinek's own vision which is:

"We imagine a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every day inspired, feel safe wherever they are, and end the day fulfilled by the work they do."

Another one is from a company called Propel My Vision. Their vision is stated as such:

"Envision a world where people go to work every day feeling empowered with a voice and feel safe to contribute to building an environment where everyone will thrive."

Not all vision statements have the beginning words "I imagine" or "Envision". But they are helpful in the beginning. After that, you can be creative with how you state it on your website for example.

A good example is an organization in Denmark called Ichange which organizes Danish Muslims so that they achieve a representative voice in society. Their vision is:

"Educated, committed and happy citizens fill the Danish homes, streets, and workplaces. A society based on tolerance, empathy, and compassion is a role model for the rest of the European nations."

If they had the beginning words, it would sound like this: "We imagine a world where educated, committed and happy citizens fill the Danish homes, streets, and workplaces."

It has to be meaningful

You can't inspire others to join your vision if you in your company or organization are not inspired first by it. If your vision statement is simply used to look nice on a strategy document and is not being used and reminded consistentlythen it's no surprise that your people don't find it inspiring.

It's about attracting people who want to live in that world that you have stated. And that can only happen when you create an inspiring vision that makes people feel that it's worth the sacrifice, and gives meaning to the work that they do on a daily basis.

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