Casting Vision that Matters
Friday, October 18, 2013 at 10:07AM
Matthew MacDonald in Apple, Business School 101, Customer Service, Leadership

Vision is one of the most under-valued characteristics in modern day leadership.  In the fast-paced "get it done" environment that we work and live in everyday, casting a 2-year vision is difficult...casting a 10-year vision seems impossible.  "How could I cast a 10-year vision, when my business field didn't even exist 10 years ago?"  A valid question...but not a relevant one.

If vision is defined as laying out a plan and path for what you and your organization will DO over the next 10 is nearly impossible to have long-term vision in today's world.  If that was the definition, the writers and producers of "Back to the Future" would have us all commuting on hover boards and eating protein bars as our only food source. is a plan or path of what you will DO...but rather a plan or path of what you will BE.

While vision has some elements of things you service offerings or larger space requirements, it is funamentally based on what you will be and who you will become.

Here's a quote from Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

"We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that's not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don't settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we're wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well."

If we define clearly who we are and what we are committed to being defined as, the micro details and mission of our organization will follow.

For example; If you build a profitable business model, then make decisions based on a faithfulness to that business model rather than the daily/weekly/monthly ups and downs of the market or industry, you will be successful over the long term.

Taking a longer term approach to casting vision is critical.  To often to leaders get sucked into the mire of daily operations that they convince themselves that "growing by 10% next year" is them casting vision.  This is a mission.  A mid-level managers can do that.  Look that the trends, examine your pipeline and out spits 10%.  Instead, casting out "we want to grow from a localized business to a national organization within 5 years" commits a path and gives your team a goal to build their management plan towards.

Don't cast mission...cast vision

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