As a strategist, I am often working with my clients on their business vision. It maybe 1 year hence or even 10-20 years, depending on the needs the organisation and the perceived rate of commoditisation of its products or services.
So, I usually start by asking the directors to draw the business now and then at a chosen point in the future. This request is usually met with a challenge or two: “What do you mean?”, “I can’t draw”, “Can’t I just write a paragraph explaining it to you?” and so on.
My case for insisting upon the exercise is this – if you can’t draw it, you can’t see it. If you can’t see it, it’s not clear enough in your mind. If it’s not clear enough in your mind, then you probably won’t get it.
The vision is a picture, by definition – not a set of words. A vision for a business needs to be a very clear view of the organisation at a particular point in the future. You should be able to close your eyes and describe that picture to me. How big is the organisation? Who are it’s customers? What are you selling to them? How are you interacting with them? What are the key processes in your production cycle? How are your people behaving? Where are they working? How are you spending your own time?
Until we can get a picture, we don’t move on, because the strategy will depend upon exactly where we’re headed. The same applies to a personal strategy. What’s your vision? Can you draw it? If you can’t draw it…