Why Vision is the First Step of Success

With a new year, we often set ourselves and our company a new resolution—wishes that you can change the present. However, after a couple of months, we quickly forgot about it. It is important to know why you are aiming for these goals, and that is why vision is a very crucial component of turning wishes into achievable goals.

Vision and strategies are links to the future. Creating a vision for the organization is essential because, as Charles F. Kettering, the inventor of the automobile self-starter said: “My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.”

When we focus solely on today we can be blinded to external threats and opportunities. When we focus only on tactics, we lose perspective on trend and innovations—the paradigm shifts that affect competitiveness. Too many successful organizations have gone into a sudden and rapid decline because they failed to recognize the impact of such changes. Be being more forwards looking, they would have been forced to look to the future and observe the paradigm shifts early enough to act on them.

Being a visionary requires curiosity, creativity and an open mind. Brainstorming, avid reading and sharing of information are fundamental to creating visions.

Creating a vision for the organization is the work of the leader. But this does not simply mean the individual who heads the organization. At all levels, leaders are responsible for setting the direction of their teams. So every business unit, every department, every function, every team, needs a vision. Each must align with the organization’s overall vision to be workable. 

Leaders are responsible for creating visions, but they can and should involve key players in their organization or group in exchanging the ideas and information that will ultimately shape the vision. Often, the most revolutionary ideas come not from the CEO, but someone outside the “inner circle” who is more objective and able to spot the weakness in the current vision.

The more uncertain and turbulent the present appears, the more compelling the vision must be. History repeatedly shows us that those who achieve the most are not those who start with the greatest privileges. Often it is those who start with nothing who become the most successful—because they have a strong vision of where they want to be and they have 100 per cent belief in and commitment to that vision.

Let us take a look at Nike, and how their vision has carry their brand to where they are now.

When Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman founded Nike in the 1960s, they named the company after the Greek goddess of victory, not because pf their own desire to win, but because they wanted to help athletes win. And by athletes, they meant anyone, not just Olympic gold medalist.

Before Nike, training shoes were expensive, specialist items, mostly German-made. Nike understood that many people didn’t pursue physical fitness because they could not obtain or afford properly designed footwear. Initially Nike imported inexpensive Japanese footwear but soon began designing and manufacturing their own high-performance products.

Nike’s vision is simple—to become a winner by helping its customers do the same. Their mission is equally simple—to produce the best and most innovative athletic footwear, apparel and equipment. Nike was the first mass-produced footwear that top athletes endorsed. By sponsoring sport stars to wear their shoes, Nike forged a powerful emotional connection with consumers. This tactic, combined with their matchless slogan—“Just Do It”—has motivated countless ordinary people worldwide to improve the quality of their lives, not only by getting fitter, but by extending the “Just Do It” philosophy into other areas of their lives.

This is an excerpt from What Bosses Want — A Guide to Building Leadership Competencies by Gary V. Nelson & Bonnie L. Nelson, Founder of NBOGroup.