In our most recent blog, you learned that the most critical aspect of successful strategic planning is aligning your vision, mission, goals and strategies. This is essential in order to have the kind of insights and outcomes that generates dynamic results.

Typically, the weakest and most frequently missing elements of strategic planning are the vision and mission. That leaves a team to work with made up goals, and they completely lack the ability to explain why these goals are the best and most important choices to pursue.

Lacking a compelling and powerful reason why your goals are the best possible accomplishments to measure success by is to the people in your organization a demonstration of inadequate thinking, especially for a leadership team.

The key to success with vision and mission is understanding the underlying components and how they integrate to form a coherent, cohesive, and congruent vision and mission.

What is vision really? Many people cannot define the difference between a vision, mission, goal, or even a strategy. That is extremely dangerous, since each one of these elements drives a particular kind of thinking.

Vision is a picture of the future – and here’s how you get a clear and meaningful image of the future. Clarifying who you are as an organization (or even as a team or division, if you’re part of an organization), what is most important to value for the success of your organization, and why you really exist are the 3 underlying keys to vision. What the world you work in looks like in the future as you are fully manifesting these is the vision you want to see.

This seems simple, yet is profoundly powerful! So these are the components that must be clear to comprise your creation of a powerful future – who you are as an organization (your identity), what’s most valuable to you (your values), and why you exist (your purpose). When you fully manifest these elements as fully as possible into the future, you see your vision! These are what it takes to create a compelling and meaningful vision.

Therefore, the reason that most strategic planning struggles is because it fails to define these critical factors – which quite simply are the most important elements to define for success, focus, and ability for your organization to make a strong congruent case for why your decisions make sense.

Without that clarity of who you / your organization is going to be (the essence that is defined by identity, values and purpose), how do you expect them or you to be able to think clearly about what to focus on, and what to do?

Our world today is so consumed with doing and activity that we fail to consider where an action is really is going to take us. The reality is that with everything we do we should be able to understand why that action is a valuable choice on the path to achieving what we want to be as an organization.

These fundamental principles are congruent with the oldest, wisest, and most thoroughly vetted philosophical questions that go back to the beginning of mankind. They answer the three most powerful questions that people and philosophers have asked for millennia:

  • Who am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • What really matters?

Failing to answer these questions well throws you onto the hamster wheel of activity, without the clarity to know where you’re going and why you’re going there. This is how the tyranny—of-the -to-do list runs otherwise bright and capable leaders’ activities and choices. That is the best way to ensure they are going to be delivering far less than they’re otherwise capable of.

To your success,
Steve