From Vision to Action
We all have aspirations. There is some future state that we are all working towards, whether we're good at articulating it or not. At Rev Ø Consulting, we believe that leadership means identifying an ideal future state and taking responsibility for achieving it.
Having aspirations and a vision is great! The constant desire for progress leads us to action. However, what we often end up with is action without direction. Before we know it, time has flown by, and we're no closer to our goal.
There is a simple way to align your actions with your vision and not lose sight: write it down and connect your future vision to your present activities. This Vision Worksheet helps you define your vision and determine what actions will get you to where you want to be. This approach to planning is perfect for career planning, project planning, business planning, or life planning. At Rev Ø Consulting, we use this Vision Worksheet to help executives figure out where they are leading their business and help aspirational managers take control of their careers.
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Using the Vision Worksheet
(1) Plan Title
Creating a title is more than an administrative task. When you give a plan a name, it's almost as if you give it life. You start referring to it as a thing, and you begin to serve it.
Describe the future you envision. If a title gives a plan a life, a good vision creates an emotional bond. By creating a powerful, positive future vision, you yoke your future self to that future state. It's now you and this plan working together, rather than you going it alone. CAUTION! This is not your sanitized, boring, corporate vision statement that not even you believe in. This vision is your "why." This is what gives you purpose. This is the vision that you believe in.
(3) & (4) Values and Focus
You may already be in problem-solving mode after crafting a compelling vision statement, thinking of all the tasks you need to start checking off. Perhaps you've got a little distracted already and took care of an urgent task related to the plan. This section is intended to slow you down. Help your future self out by establishing some guidelines and boundaries. You've created a picture of the future, but avoid jumping into problem-solving mode too quickly. Reflecting on your values will help you make more realistic actions in the next sections. For example, if your vision is to grow revenue by 20%, it's essential to recognize that you can do that in many different ways. But if integrity is one of your values, you'll say no to a lot of options; or if your core business is healthcare, that industry is your boundary. Now you'll ignore the buzz around crypto or real estate as additional money-making opportunities.
There are many paths to take in life, but you can't take them all. By choosing one, you eliminate another from being an option. Suppose your vision is to be financially wealthy. In that case, you could pursue a well-paying job, gamble (and hope), become a celebrity, save judiciously, invest, speculate on crypto, start a business, or break the law. How do you choose which path to take and stay focused? Reflect on your vision, values, and focus: one path will likely present itself as the right one for you. Some paths need to be established soon, like what product to bring to market to generate revenue. Other paths may be unclear, like where to establish your corporate headquarters. If you don't know your strategy yet, take time to figure it out; perhaps some more research or mentoring will help.
You probably jumped into problem-solving before you even had a name for your plan. Now you finally get to write down some of the tasks. This is not intended to cover every possible activity. Focus on the next small step and any critical items. Consider adopting a digital Kanban-style board like Trello to organize everything if this is a big plan.
No plan goes according to plan. Identify some issues now to get them out of your head and on paper. Once you've identified them, you can anticipate them, either to mitigate them or to ensure you don't get derailed when they happen. Pro Tip: Perform periodic qualitative risk analysis on these and other issues as they crop up.
(8) Time-bound results
Starting with year ten, write down the results you expect to see. Then get progressively more granular, listing results three years, one year, and three months from now. Pro Tip: The three-month results become the perfect baseline for creating more detailed OKRs.
Sketch out a simple roadmap of what achieving your vision will look like. This little sketch has an oddly powerful effect of giving you some much-needed perspective.
Share this with another person. When you share plans with other people, you invite additional perspectives and use public commitment as a tool to drive yourself to action.
Why go through this? This approach leans on several psychological insights:
At Rev Ø Consulting, we know how to make progress. We also know that as humans, we all possess limited cognitive load. Using tools like this is how high performers get more done and how great leaders inspire action.
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