Have you ever hear the statement: “Dream it and you can achieve it!” Has it worked for you personally and professionally? If not, what do you think is the reason for it not working?
Quite possibly, one or all of the following essentials was missing from the process.
The most famous example of a dream that turned into a success was Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Dream speech” in which he spoke of his future vision when people would be defined and accepted by their character instead of the color of their skin. His dream and resultant daily undertakings, while still a work in progress, epitomizes the 3 essentials necessary for sustainable success.
A dream, regardless of the time of day or night, is merely a vision of some past, present or future thought, event or moment in time. The significance of the thought depends upon what happened afterwards – good, bad or otherwise.
If the thought pertained to a desire for the future in the life of the person in whom the thought occurred, but never happened, thought leaders, speakers and writers proclaim the absence of some, if not all, of the 3 essentials, inhibited the success of that dream.
My personal experience affirms that the following 3 essentials are necessary for sustainable success. Early in my life I aspired to be a minister. My Mom politely informed me that I hadn’t been called, which squelched that idea. She would always proudly people in our community that “David was going to be like Mr. Smith.” Mr. Smith was an Accountant and very successful, so I thought that was a great idea. Three semesters of Accounting and I knew that wasn’t my future.
Future studies in business management and leadership, as well as teaching in the Navy, led me to my true purpose in life. Following my Navy career, teaching the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Corps Program, as well as studies in personal and organizational leadership led me to my personal vision and mission – developing leaders who will in turn develop other leaders.
Vision – Importance and Statement Process
A dream requires initiative and action. That action begins with the Vision, which is where you want to take that dream and make it your life’s work. It becomes your purpose in life, or the “Why” of your life. Your Vision becomes your statement of how you want to live your life. If it is a strong, empowering, and motivating vision, it is the focus of your time and energy, your passion, your direction in life. If it truly comes from your heart, it is based on your values and foundational standards with which leads to total fulfillment in meaning of everything you attempt and accomplish (Dodd & Sundheim, 2005). [i]
Author Gordon D’Angelo says everything starts with Vision, that it is the process that brings imagination to creation.[ii] King Solomon, writing in the Book of Proverbs says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.”[iii] The New Strong’s Concise Concordance lists 79 references for Vision. [iv] The word(s) “vision” appears 53 time(s) in 47 verse(s) in Quran in Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation.[v] Likewise, Strong’s Hebrew Concordance lists several references for vision (chazon). Given these exhaustive documented texts, it would be difficult to reason objection to establishing personal and organizational visions.
So how does that happen? Is it the responsibility of the primary leader in the organization? What are the expectations concerning the company vision – every employee automatically accept it and work toward that end? John Maxwell in his 360° Leader says, “Vision may begin with one person, but it is only accomplished by many people.” Maxwell further writes that it is necessary for leadership to champion the vision and obtain the buy-in of every employee so that it becomes their vision as well; it’s about “we”, not “me.”[vi]
According to the New Leadership Paradigm (Spears, 2002), employees want to be involved in the decision-making process. They want to be asked for their input and feel that they are valued.[vii] Therefore, employees should be active in creating an organizational vision statement. Meet with them, consider their suggestions, come to an all-employee consensus as to the wording of the statement.
The organizational vision is how the company is seen, hence believed to be, at some future time, 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Once decided upon, publish it throughout the organization and on the company website and stationery, talk about it, championship it, and get everyone onboard to work toward turning that vision into a reality.
Next step is to figure out how to make it happen. In other words, what will be the personal and organizational mission to make that vision a reality.
The mission becomes your day-to-day activity, your work, the effort put into living your vision. The mission requires several parts working in collaboration to daily improve in skill and expertise. This process also should include employee participation, not only to determine the actual parts of the mission, but also the SMART Goals needed to achieve success toward the vision.
How do you get there? Creation of a personal and/or organizational Mission Statement is the same or similar process used to formulate the Vision Statement. Ask the employees, meet with them, write down their suggestions (brainwashing), discuss them, come to a consensus as to the wording. Once finalized, publish just as with the Vision Statement. Create buy-in by valuing employee contribution in accomplishing the mission, which will turn the vision into reality.
The Mission Statement is not setting SMART Goals, which is a separate process. SMART – Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Realistic; Time restricted – Goals are set throughout the organization. Some will pertain to the entire company, others will be for individual entities within the whole company. Again, this should be done with employee input and buy-in.
Achieving your Mission – Action and Strategy
While it is great to have a vision statement that tells you and other of where you are going in your life, while your vision represents your value system, beliefs, as well as your moral and ethical standards, and while your mission statements specifies your day-to-day activities and business, neither is of value without action focused on the specifics of working the mission.
Action Plans and Strategies require analysis of the SMART Goals, and devising plans to achieve them. For the individual this means working the Goals and planning a strategy for each. For the organization, leadership needs to work with employees to create an action plan to accomplish the goals. This may require extra training for everyone, special mentoring for areas of expertise not totally clear to everyone, and constant re-evaluation of goals to ensure they are directed responsibly and accurately.
A more in-depth reference on this subject matter is John C. Maxwell’s Put Your Dream To The Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It. Two points that I find most helpful is insuring total ownership – is the Dream (Vision) really mine, and personal fulfillment and satisfaction from accomplishing the vision.[viii]
An additional element for success is establishing a personal and/or organizational motto – a short motivating statement or phrase that becomes a constant reminder to all involved of the focus for everyone; individually or as a whole.
My personal motto is “Developing Great Leaders Who Develop Great Leaders.” A second that I use quite frequently to help motivate others outside my realm of authority, i.e. friends and mentees is “Keep The Quest Alive! Additional words such as “Leadership” can be added before “Quest” to apply to a particular situation or action. Likewise, “Keep the Vision Alive! is another that is particular to this article.
Feel free to call or email me with any questions you might have about the statement creation process, or any other aspect of these
3 Essentials Necessary for Sustained Success.
[i] Dodd, P., Sundheim, D., (2005). The 25 Best Time Management Tools & Techniques: How to Get More Done Without Driving Yourself Crazy (Ann Arbor, MI; Peak Performance Press, Inc.), 9-17.
[ii] D’Angelo, G., (2012). Vision, Your Pathway to Victory: Sharing a Direction to a Better Future (New York; Morgan James Publishing), 1.
[iii] New American Standard Bible (La Habra, CA; The Lockman Foundation), Prov. 29: 18.
[iv] Vine, W.E., (1997). The New Strong’s Concise Concordance (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson, Inc.), 692.
[v] Quran Teacher: How to Read the Quran (n.d.). Vision in the Quran. Retrieved on 11/8/2016, from http://www.searchtruth.com/search.php?keyword=vision&translator=2&search=1.
[vi] Maxwell, J.C., (2005). The 360°Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson, Inc.), 64-72.
[vii] Spears, L.C., Lawrence, M. (Ed.), (2002). Focus on Leadership: Servant-Leadership for the 21st Century (New York; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), 2-8.
[viii] Maxwell, J.C., (2009). Put Your Dream To The Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson.