Power of Vision


Vague goals lead to vague results!

Success almost always starts with a powerful vision of your organization’s long term purpose, values, and multiyear goals. Without a meaningful vision, nothing else matters. Here is how the Cheshire Cat explained the importance of vision to Alice in Louis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

At the fork in the road Alice asks the Cheshire Cat, Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat. I don’t much care where – said Alice. Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat.

What are the principles that generate a powerful vision?

  • Believe in big dreams and have challenging, yet clearly defined goals to help motivate efforts and track progress.
  • Foster passion and commitment by making goals visible, never wavering in your commitments, and publicly celebrating people who achieve their goals.

Sam Walton was taught the power of goals by J.C. Penney, who said, “Give me someone with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” Sam was driven by big dreams and had specific, measurable, actionable time-bound goals for getting there.

Yet, Sam knew that having goals was not enough. People need to be passionate and committed to make them happen. In 1982, Walton wagered with a Wal-Mart executive that if the next year’s pre-tax profits reached eight percent, he would hula down Wall Street. They exceeded the goal and Walton donned the shirt and the skirt and did as he promised. Sam captured the power of celebrating success when he said:

Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures. Have fun. Show enthusiasm – always. When all else fails, put on a costume and sing a silly song. Then make everybody else sing with you. Don’t do a hula on Wall Street. It’s been done. Think up your own stunt. All of this is more important, and more fun, than you think, and it really fools the competition.

Feeling more like Louis Carroll’s Alice than Sam right now? Get started by taking fifteen minutes and write about where you want yourself and your company to be five years from now. If that doesn’t get you revved up, keep writing until you do.

PurposeBrett Pinegar