“A traveling salesman was lost as he drove down a quiet country road. When he saw a young boy walking toward him he slowed down, stopped, and called to the boy: ‘Where am I?’ ‘There you is’ said the boy as he pointed at the man. ‘Hey, you’re pretty stupid, aren’t you!’ said the upset driver. ‘Well, you’re the one asking the dumb questions!’ replied the kid.”
My good friend and mentor, Jim Lundy, told me that story to emphasize that before you can know where do you want to be (your vision), you must first understand…
- Where you have been
- Where you are now
In my previous blog post, I shared that in October 2001, I introduced WOW! to our people so we all would clearly understand…
W – Why we exist? (our purpose)
O – (has no meaning)
W – Where do we want to be? (our vision)
Years prior to our WOW! QIC-Day, our people had already heard me speak about our vision (Revolutionizing the Way People Move). But that day we codified and deepened our understanding of why we exist (our purpose) and where do we want to be (our vision).
Every leader and every employee can clearly understand their organization’s vision by taking two practical steps.
1. Communicate the Priorities
That WOW! QIC-Day, I shared our three priorities concerning where we want to be (our vision – Revolutionizing the Way People Move):
- Develop value-adding services responsive to customers’ want and needs.
- Develop innovative processes to fulfill customer wants and needs.
- Consistently deliver a service experience that exceeds customers’ expectations.
Afterwards, we had open discussions as to what these three priorities specifically looked like for our business.
2. Follow the Process
During the meeting, we used two discussion questions to stimulate thinking and discussion about our vision (Where do we want to be?):
- What attitudes, behaviors, or actions will enhance and promote progress toward our vision? (positive thoughts)
- What factors will hinder or limit our efforts to progress toward our vision? (negative thoughts)
I used the following process to lead our people to participate in the facilitation exercise about our vision:
- I introduced the first of the vision-related questions from above and asked our people to discuss at their table possible answers to that question.
- Next, each table used their flip chart to record their ideas and answers in response to the first question.
- Then, one-by-one, each table was asked to share their best idea for that question with the entire group.
- Then we repeated the process for the second question.
Finally, we all played the Moveopoly board game about our vision using only cards made from the positive thoughts (that contributed to our progress) and the negative thoughts (that set us back) that our people gave during the facilitation exercise.
Boy, did our people have lots of fun playing Moveopoly and competing against the other table teams for special prizes.
But most of all while they were having “a ball of fun” and by using the positive cards and negative cards containing their own thoughts, it completely reinforced how they were going to achieve Revolutionizing the Way People Move! – our vision.
Your vision should provide the cornerstone for everything that you do.
Why? Because without a vision, your organization is like a ship without a rudder and is in danger of drifting aimlessly.
Many organizations lack a clear vision, and they tend to jump from task to task without a clear understanding of what bonds the individual actions together and/or the value created by the individual actions.
So don’t be like the traveling salesman, but ask the right question – “Where do we want to be?” Once you define your vision and your team clearly understands it, your vision will inspire and motivate everyone in the organization!
Do you know where have you been and where are you now? Do you know where do you want to be as a person and as an organization? Please share your comments <here> and share this blog post with family, a friend, and/or co-worker.