Vision Building – What It Is And Isn’t

From our work we’ve gleaned the following do and don’ts around Vision Building:


  1. Don’t have a Vision and a Mission. We’ve never seen an organisation successfully communicate both of these and show how they can function interdependently. Also when you ask people to quote one they often quote the other. A good vision will do all you need it too.
  2. No numbers or dates. Something that states £100m by 2015 is a goal not a vision.
  3. Visions are aspirational and as much about the journey as the destination. They are for the long term, something that needs changing or can be achieved in 5 years is probably not long term enough.
  4. Creating a future that a vision captures is where the real benefit is. There is nothing more motivating for someone than to have a future articulated to them that they would like to become part of.
  5. Don’t confuse visions with marketing strap lines, clever word play or alliterative statements. Sure, you’ll want to distil it down to a short phrase, but start with the long version, otherwise it’s just a word-smithing exercise.
  6. Where does a good vision come from? It comes from a passionate point of view of what someone or some team wants to create. Vision building is not a technical, tick the box exercise, it should come from the heart, a clear expression of a future state which is different from the current state.
  7. If it’s done as in point 6 it becomes a statement of intent. It should be directional, broad enough not to be restrictive, specific enough to allow options to be discriminated for and against.
  8. Finally, the most important point, vision building is a deep act of leadership, you’re offering people an opportunity to take part in taking others (customers and employees) on an exciting journey together.

See Values and Goals for the other two components of an effective Purpose Framework.