From ‘Vision To Reality’ 9 Critical Steps!

Tags: Leadership Worth Sharing Blog

According to John Kotter, over 50% of companies fail in the first step to completing a vision! Guess what that step is . . .

Aligning Leadership on what you are trying to accomplish! 

That statistic alone screams how difficult it is to strategically plan and execute. And how few companies actually succeed at visioning. Whether you’re part of a non-profit or a large for profit, all companies desire constant growth and success.

Kind folks, I’m here to tell you that growth and success will NOT happen without VISION. You MUST have a strategic plan and a process to get to that plan to be successful in today’s hypercompetitive world.

Hence, this blog is about helping you create/refine a process for developing your vision for 2018 and beyond. If you’re still not hooked, understand and embrace that vision is what guides success and makes that success sustainable.

Read on for your solid approach to firmly identify company opportunity/growth areas for 2018. 

The Visioning Process from Creation To Reality

  1. Align Leadership and Ensure Buy-In Around The Vision – To Kotter’s point above, the FIRST thing you need to do is ensure ALL relevant decision makers are with you throughout the ENTIRE decision making process! Leave this very significant step out of your ‘Prioritization’ process and you’ve already set yourself up for failure with conflicting goals and priorities! We’ve all been there, done that. And it isn’t pretty.
  2. Re-examine your Vision Statement/Goals from 2017 – Hopefully, you had Vision Statement/Goals from 2017. If not, step back and evaluate areas of success AND areas of failure to help you answer the following questions. 
  3. Are the goals still relevant?
  4. Did you achieve what you set out to achieve in the beginning of the year?
  5. Evaluate/Challenge your Vision and determine what you need to carry on to the next year. In most, if not all cases, there should be a refinement of the Vision to take into account internal and external changes to resources, talent, competition, etc.
  6. Re-establish your Vision Statement and be realistic that it can be accomplished. Stretch goals are necessary for growth but unattainable goals are demoralizing, potentially sending a message to your people that leadership may be ‘out of touch.’ Remember your Vision is what gets people excited to work for you.
  7. Clarify your focus areas by completing a S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, Opportunities) Analysis – Using your initial starting goals for 2018 and your 2017 vision/goals as ‘pre-cursors,’ generate your SWOT. Be as truthful and transparent as you can be in filling out each area. It is also critical that you involve your best Subject Matter Experts (SME) in this process to gain the most insight. Do NOT do this in a vacuum. Involve the right decision-makers now so as to gain not only their vision but also their buy-in which will be key in the execution phase. Here’s a few focus areas to get you started.

What Are your Strengths that will set you up to deliver on your goals for the year?

What are your Weaknesses that might get in the way of your delivery?

What are your legitimate Threats

What are the Opportunities:

  1. Challenge your Core Competencies: Are they still relevant? Do you need to change? Add any? – Coming up with your Core Competencies can be challenging if you haven’t spent time really looking at them. The key advantage to Core Competencies, are that when combined and leveraged, they will separate you from the competition because your performance and contribution will be ‘on point’ and maximized. Core Competencies are areas you consider your company to be VERY, VERY good at and feed into your ‘Core Business. It’s helpful to look at some company examples.
  1. Convert your Opportunity Areas Into 12-month Strategic Initiatives AND ensure you leverage your Core Competencies – At the very least, see if you can take your ‘Opportunity Areas’ and make them into realistic Strategies by putting firm 12 month goals AND quarterly milestones behind each and every one of them. For each opportunity area, address the following:
  1. Determine points of integration throughout the company – This phase of the process is truly about ensuring you’ve taken a hard look at the intricacies and impacts of your ‘strategic efforts’ across the company.
  1. Start Executing and over communicating and supporting Like teaching a baby how to take her first steps, don’t just ‘let go’ and expect success. Rather, expect to be fully involved and offer up as much support as you need to ensure the strategy and execution are ‘operating on their own.’ Until then, hand hold as much as you need to!
  1. Evaluate and Determine if you Should Reiterate, Pivot and Change, Maintain, or Resolve – Evaluate at the agreed upon checkpoints and/or metrics you’ve established. This is an ongoing process that MUST happen. If you have to pivot and change, then go back through steps 1-7 to determine what you need to do differently. If you are experiencing success, stay the course. No matter what, make sure you are working ‘evaluation’ into your process.
  1. Close the Deal, Ensure Delivery Happened and Celebrate the Success! – I often say that you have not actually ‘closed the deal’ until you have both evidence AND a validation from a ‘third party (aka your customer) that you have successfully delivered. Until those conditions are met, it’s just ‘lip service.’ Also, if you have actually ‘crossed the finish line,’ make sure you are actually celebrating the success and recognizing your people for all of their hard work! The bottom line is that making any sort of vision or high level goal a reality is very hard and complex. It requires a lot of discipline and a lot of ‘people’ and organizational and business skills to pull it off. Most importantly, it requires all pertinent members to be involved. If you’ve reached Step 9, then it’s time to start again for next year!

Here’s to Creating Your 2018 Vision and the Ability to Deliver It!! As always, I stand ready to help with any questions. Feel free to contact me at Happy Visioning.


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