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Strategic Planning: What Is Your Vision?

Forming a strategic vision should provide long-term direction, delineate what kind of enterprise the company is trying to become, and infuse the organization with a sense of purposeful action. Vision serves as a unifying focal point for everyone in the organization — like a North Star. In fact, your vision statement needs to be something you can achieve at some point in the future.

Visions are also referred to as big, hairy, audacious goals, or BHAGs, a term made popular by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their Harvard Business Review article “Building Your Company’s Vision.”

A vision statement can be as far reaching as 100 years or as short as 5 years. Some people think that if you’re not planning for 20 years in the future, you’re being too shortsighted. Others say that the world is changing too quickly to plan more than a few years out.

Either way, your vision statement needs to work for your company and the industry you operate in. Your vision should include:

  • A vision statement: A short, concise statement of your organization’s future state

  • A vivid description: A long list of words and phrases that describes what that future state is like

Because the items in the bulleted list go hand-in-hand, you can develop them simultaneously.

Here are two examples of visions, or BHAGs, that were very lofty at the time they were established:

  • We will put a man on the moon before the end of the decade and bring him back (President John F. Kennedy).

  • A computer on every desk and in every home using great software as an empowering tool (Microsoft).

These two statements don’t sound so crazy now, do they?

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