1. Think big!Leadership Tips

Make it aspirational, but not irrational. Challenge people with the size and scope of the vision but don’t make it so far fetched that it is considered unattainable.

2. Share the future.

Don’t just craft only around the desires of management or shareholders. Craft a vision that explains to everyone–especially the employees who will need to achieve it–what this desired future will look like for them as well. If they don’t see any benefits, why buy in?

3. Create with 20/20 vision

Explain what you’re trying to achieve in the next 20 years, but make sure the vision gives the guidance team members need to decide what to do in the next 20 minutes. Connect the future to the present.

4. Keep it real.

Use language the real, normal people use, not the kind of corporate rhetoric that means little and is understood less.

5. Make it easy to remember.

The more concise, the more powerful. Make the primary vision statement short. If necessary, add a more detailed explanation. Just make sure there is a concise version that is easy to recall and repeat.

6. Refer to it frequently.

Use it on more than the company website and annual report. Ask people what the vision is, and what it means to them. Show how achievements and innovation are moving your organization closer to the fulfillment of the vision.

7. Ask each department to develop it’s own mini-vision.

It is important that a departmental vision describes the desired future for the department and supports the larger organizational vision. The mini-vision should complement and add clarity.


Mark Sanborn
About Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Mark Sanborn graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University. In addition to his work as a business educator and author, Mark continues to be an active leadership practitioner. Most recently he served as the president of the National Speakers Association.

2 Responses to 7 Ways to Create a Vision that Motivates and Inspires
  1. Very direct and concise points Mark. Excellent.

    I can quickly see some practical adjustments I need to make. I didn’t make it far past point #1. 🙂

    A mistake I’ve made in my own journey is to try to impress others with the size and scope of my vision.

    And, while I think enlarging one’s vision is a healthy thing for leaders to do, if those that are trying to understand and follow are left with a fantasy instead of a rock-solid vision, it will do more harm that good.

  2. Pei and I were strategizing our next steps over this past weekend for our biz and radio show.

    She asked me a question that I love to hear, “What does it look like?” Those few words are powerful enough to keep up clear on what we’re up to and in agreement with what we see for our company and life.

    Great piece Mark.


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