Visionary Decisions: Getting a Grip on Direction and Focus

By Dawna Jones

Vision is a long-term view that articulates the company’s contribution to the world. Consider it a visual and visceral description of what inspires the company’s decisions and guides direction. It hooks your imagination.

For vision to inspire action, it must emotionally hook customers, employees, and supplier networks that contribute to company performance. Here are a couple of examples:

  • HootSuite: HootSuite is a pioneer in social media management. According to CEO Ryan Holmes, HootSuite’s goal is “to empower people and brands to reach global markets, using social media — to help them connect, inform, and succeed like never before.”

  • Patagonia: Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company. Its whole reason for being reflects the intrinsic values of the company’s founders and employees: a minimalist lifestyle that goes with surfing, climbing, and other sports that leave motors behind. Patagonia’s vision: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

In business, having a shared vision lets you establish long-term goals that align with your reason to exist. At a high level, vision helps people understand the company’s purpose; at a lower level, it helps them aim for the right project outcomes. People know where they fit, how they can contribute, and where the company ship is going.

A well-articulated vision inspires the best from different business units, your professional networks, your suppliers, and your customers. Holding a clear vision for where you are going and what you seek to achieve generates outstanding performance. And, when the darker moments arrive, it can keep you focused and help you stay the course.

To apply your vision statement to decision-making, ask questions like, “How does this decision align with our vision (and values)?” You’ll get a clear sense of whether the direction under consideration is taking you where you want to go.

Developing a vision statement engages employee creativity, so be fun, visual, and playful. A vision statement is flat when viewed as an intellectual exercise. Vision evokes an emotional connection to the company’s values, as long as what the company does is consistent with its vision. When you use your vision statement as a barometer of how on-target your decisions are, you instill integrity into the decisions-making process.