Beyond the Vision Board: Casting a Strategic Vision for Your Business

At this time of the year, we start envisioning NEXT year. For many of us, this includes creating a vision board: a tangible or digital image board that depicts what we want to achieve. While this can be a fun, creative process, it has little to do with achieving that vision.

Have you ever shared your vision board with someone? Your team? Your spouse? Typically, they have a perplexed look on their faces, even as you begin to explain it, right? That’s because a vision board must not only be seen to be understood. It must be felt. To be felt, it needs to be explained to anyone and everyone who can contribute to achieving your vision.

As leaders, we often assume that after we share our vision, people will understand the nuances of that vision just like we do. If we have teams, we might assume they understand their roles and responsibilities in achieving that vision. And that’s a dangerous assumption.

Sometimes WE don’t own our role and responsibilities in achieving our vision. That’s why, SO often, instead of our vision boards getting us closer to our goals, they just sit there looking inspirational until we forget about them.

And yet, vision is important because you can’t achieve what you can’t imagine.

Woman creating a vision boardBut while vision boards and vision statements have their place, neither is enough to get you to a truly VISIONARY PLACE in your business.

Every three years we should go through a metamorphosis in our businesses and possibly our lives. That metamorphosis should include a BIG BOLD 3-year vision. Why three years? If you look at how businesses create strategic plans, most are 3-5-year plans. But the MOST successful ones are three years. More than three years is just too long to stay with one goal. Less than three years is too short to achieve a bold vision.

I like to have BOLD visions, don’t you?

But visions should be achievable. To do that, we need to reverse-engineer them and create a plan forward from where we are to where we want to be.

I started Prosper for Purpose in 2013. My co-founder and I crafted an aspiring set of values, an okay mission, and a vague vision. When I bought her out of the business a year later, I created a comprehensive BHAG of a vision. It included: 

  • A purpose statement (our reason for being)
  • A two-part mission statement that addresses what we do daily to achieve our vision, both for our clients and our team
  • Our signature services as an agency
  • Our ideal clients
  • Our company culture
  • My management style
  • Our revenue and profitability goals
  • The change we seek through our business

I revisit this vision every three years. In 2017, it included building a team of 10 and buying a building, which I achieved. In 2020, I modified my vision to address what was happening to businesses across the country and around the world. In 2021, I came out with a revised vision that took me through this year. EACH of these times, my messaging changed. My brand changed. My website changed. As I became more and more focused and intentional about what I wanted, the path toward my vision became clear.

Young woman brainstorming on a whiteboardI refined my process, blending my experience leading strategic planning for businesses and nonprofits and my experience as an entrepreneur. I use this methodology with my clients. I call it the Magical Strategic Vision process.

The MSV process starts with a creative imagining of how you want to feel in your one wondrous life. Some people crave routines and activity, while others crave space and freedom. Starting with how you want to feel rather than what you want to achieve can save you a lot of anxiety and regret. That big team I was building did not match my vision, nor did owning a building during a pandemic. I now have a small, virtual team and while I miss working in person sometimes, I’m much happier.

Okay, back to my Magical Strategic Vision process. After identifying that core desired feeling, I have prompts that guide clients through a vision-casting process. Then we set priorities in each core business area, from operations and team to sales and marketing.

I want every business owner to have a strategic vision they can follow to achieve their wildest dreams. Let me know if you need help designing an ambitious yet agile vision you can use to inspire and engage your team, create partnerships and grow your business.

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