This month, we’re taking a page from sales trainer and author Cameron Herold and creating our company’s Vivid Vision. Think of this as an aspirational manifesto – it’s your vision of where you want to be in three years, and how your business runs once you get there.
If you haven’t read Herold’s book Double Double, that’s a great place to start. The book’s overarching concept is how to double your company’s revenue in 3 years. The first step? Dreaming of the future. Yep, you read that right – Herold’s first piece of advice is to have a crystal-clear vision of your company’s future. He compares this to the visualizations Olympic-caliber high jumpers use just before they compete. You can see them close their eyes and envision a successful jump. Then they step up and make it happen.
The point of creating a Vivid Vision is to get your team members focused on the same goal. It’s easy to get sidetracked by various tasks, like marketing, sales, accounting, and day-to-day office management. But when we get fragmented like this, we rarely work toward a single, coherent goal. Instead, we’re just plodding forward, trying to check off an endless to-do list.
So what does it take to create a Vivid Vision? Here’s a bit more about the process.
Decide Where You Want to Be in Three Years
The first step in creating your vision is to get out of the office. It’s hard to dream when you’re constantly disturbed by a ringing phone, a beeping calendar reminder, or a deluge of emails. So take the afternoon off. Go sit by the beach, or walk through the park, or pull up a chair in your own backyard.
There, away from every distraction, let your imagination soar.
Many people create goals for the future but don’t really have a vision of what their company will look like at that point.
Where do you see your company in three years? How many people work for you? What does your office space look like? Which milestones have you reached? What do clients say about you? Who has helped you achieve these goals? Get as specific as you can – right down to what color you want your office walls to be painted.
If you feel overwhelmed, it may help to think about smaller categories like these:
- Culture – how do you want your office to look and feel? How do people behave at work? What gets them excited to come to work every day? What’s a normal workday like in your office?
- Customers – who do you serve? What do they say about you?
- Publicity – what does the industry say about you? What do larger news outlets say about you?
- Products – what do you make or sell?
- Marketing – what kind of marketing do you do? Have you reached a new market? How are new customers finding you?
- Money – what’s your main revenue source? What do your budgets and financials look like?
Translate Your Ideas into a Vision
Next, you'll turn those ideas into statements of fact. The goal is to create a 3-4 page document describing how your company looks and performs three years from now. Pretend you're already living in that future, and describe what you've achieved in the past tense.
I use the phrase "conceive, believe, and achieve" to remind myself—and others—to keep this process in perspective as they work to make the Vivid Vision a reality.
For example, if you dream of expanding your agency to include a partner who specializes in business insurance, you could say: “I brought on a junior partner with experience in buy-sell and key-man agreements. I introduced her to my business-owning clients, and strengthened my relationship with them by finding new ways to help them.”
Or let’s say your vision includes building a direct marketing website for your niche market. You'd describe what happens once you achieve that goal: “Over the past three years, I built a website that caters to [my niche market] using great content and a steady stream of social media and SEO best practices. Now, I have hundreds of high-quality leads and a community of engaged clients who frequently provide referrals.”
Now is not the time to worry about how you’re going to do this. Don’t start making to-do lists just yet! In this statement, focus on what you achieved and the rewards it has brought you.
Turn That Vision into a Visual Representation
When your Vivid Vision has been given out to all your employees, an incredible alignment takes place, and they end up being as aligned as a team of fighter-jet pilots. They instinctively make decisions that are aligned with the same vision that everyone sees.
Your Vivid Vision shouldn't just sit on your hard drive. You should see it every day. That’s what inspires you and your team to make it happen. As Herold says, “Vision statements tend to get written by getting a whole bunch of corporate people in a room pulling together the words that best describe their business. Then they create a one-sentence vision or mission statement for the company that no one cares about or reads ever again.”
Turn your vision into a poster or presentation and share it with team members, clients, service providers, visitors, and anyone else who arrives at your office. As Herold says, “By getting everyone to see the same big picture of the company’s future, you make them your allies in helping it come true.”
You also never know when you’ll make a connection that will help you achieve your goal. For example, 1-800-GOT-JUNK has a “Can You Imagine?” wall. This is an expansion of the Vivid Vision concept, where you make your craziest “This will never happen!” ideas public. The idea is that employees, clients, and guests all see your crazy ideas, and offer tips or suggestions that actually make them possible.
Herold's idea for the "Can You Imagine?" wall was to become a Harvard Business School case study. One day, someone visiting the company said they knew the person at Harvard who approved those cases, and agreed to make an introduction. If they had never made the idea public, no matter how crazy it sounded, it might not have happened.
That’s our look at the Vivid Vision concept!
We’ll keep you posted as we create ours. Right now, our teams are working on writing up their ideas. We’ll compile them into a master vision for the whole company, and when we’re done, we’ll share it with all of you!