Why I Have Double Vision and Think Your Business Should Too
In my strategic planning work, I’ve found that a grand long-term vision like: ‘putting your tiny town on the world map’ is wonderful for inspiring your team to persevere through challenging times. I like to think of this long-term vision as your “When It’s All Said and Done” (WIASD). However, though inspiring, your WIASD may lack the specificity to guide your team members’ immediate efforts. It may also fail to provide a much needed near-term fix to fuel everyone’s momentum. This is where a near-term vision or an “Amazing Not Too Distant Future” (ANTDF) can help.
At any point in time, every business has a certain amount of calm or chaos going on with respect to it’s people, profits, and products or services. The “Amazing Not Too Distant Future” is the next level of better for this combination of things. The ANTDF is not a final destination, nor is it an achievement in a single point in time. It is a new norm that remains constant over a given period of time, perhaps months, quarters or even a few years. When it is achieved, a new ANTDF is needed.
Let’s say that your business is booming. While that’s great, you didn’t anticipate sales going so well and as a result your staffing levels aren’t adequate to get the work done. This leads to lots of folks working lots overtime to get the promised work out the door and to the customer. This overtime is negatively impacting employee morale and eating into your profits. On top of that, Quality Control is catching a higher rate of product defects, which requires rework to fix the issues!
In this situation, your ANTDF might be to: ‘Maintain average monthly revenue while increasing profitability by 2%, improve employee morale by two points and return to prior quality levels.’ We aren’t working on strategy for getting there yet, just setting an aspiration for an “Amazing Not Too Distant Future” - a next level of better for your people, profits and products/services.
On the other hand, if your business vision statement is only about the achievement of a new steadier business state, you may miss the early steps necessary to make the grand, legacy-leaving impact that you know your business is meant to make. You don’t have to know the strategy yet for how you are going to get there. When you simply have a compelling, far-reaching legacy you’d love to leave through your business, you begin noticing opportunities that would have otherwise been invisible to you.
As if that’s not reason enough, a double vision is helpful for your staff. You likely have some employees who are predominantly interested in understanding near-term targets and others who are at their best when they understand and are in tune with the organization’s long-term vision.
When you hold a double vision, you get the focus and momentum of a near-term vision as well as the opportunity-leveraging and deep inspiration of a long-term vision. This promotes a more fluid and energetic environment for you, your employees and your organization.