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Role of Personal Vision in Innovation

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Many world-class companies cannot survive without a great vision. Especially in the current climate, how can an organization survive without a well-defined vision? I don’t mean vision-statement alone, I mean a real vision – a vivid enough picture of the future that has no boundaries, it is larger then the organization itself, it is far enough in distance to want to work hard for. A great company vision, everyone can see a clear direction, not the exact path, but a focused path to the future.

Good organizations have a vision; Great organizations are living their vision. Any strategy guru will tell you, without a company vision, the company will fail.

Therefore, if company must have a good vision to be successful, why don’t every individuals have a vision? Do you? Do you have it written for your self?

I don’t think it is possible to be ‘tuned-in’ to our work without having our personal vision connected to our work. Is it? Without this connection, doesn’t it just feel like ‘work’?

Who loves to go to ‘work’ everyday? Not too many. Work can become our own worship only if is fun and exciting. How can we be creative in our work if we don’t have a vivid picture of our own future?

For innovation to work, I have already argued that employees must be fully engaged – more often, everyday, in every project they contributing to. ‘Engaged’ being - more creative in their work, more passionate, more meaningful, less stressful, collaborative etc.

Most people I know haven't thought to do a personal vision statement for themselves. The great athletes, as we watched Olympics in Beijing recently, all spoke about how they got there, how they envisioned their accomplishments, how they visualized their success, how they even ‘watched’ the medal ceremony and their dreams coming true years ago.

Aristotle observed that "the soul never thinks without a picture."

Creating a compelling vision for our lives -- one that includes not just a vision of our professional accomplishments but also a vision for family life, education, health, community engagements, travel, and adventures -- can point us in new directions and provide the drive we need to get there. A personal vision statement asks: what do I want to be, do, and contribute in life -- and who do I want to share it with?

Many people struggle with the concept of defining a vision of the good life because it sounds too abstract and distant. Fortunately, authors Richard Leider and David Shapiro have come to the rescue with an elegantly simple definition of the good life: "living in the place you belong, with the people you love, doing the right work -- on purpose."

It is important to realize that a vision is very different from purpose ("mission") and goals. Our purpose is our reason for being, and we should think of it as timeless. Our goals are the targets we want to accomplish, and they are best conceived in near term; usually within 1-3 years. By contrast, our life vision is a vivid description of what we will do with our lives. It’s best thought of over a decade, or even a lifetime. Our life vision should give goose-bumps, make us cry, and take our breath away with its boldness. It should roar with passion and set markers for what we plan to do with our days on the planet.

A personal vision for yourself, may take long time to arise in your consciousness. But, once you have it, it will become your ‘being’, the creative and catalyzing force in your life.

Carl Jung says that "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." In essence, our vision statement is an authentic expression of how our purpose and values play out in the world.

C-Suite Bottom Line: To drive enterprise innovation, and create a remarkable living organization, one of the easiest action you take, is to help every employee craft their personal vision statement. This will allow every employee to put their dreams on the line of their own vision of the good life. Once they can see the line of sight between their purpose, values, and work, then let them go – see what happens to your culture for innovation. Creativity will overflow, ideas will come from everywhere, continuous innovation will become the food for sustainable growth, and therefore business strategies will become reality – faster.


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