Have You Seen The Big Picture?
Along with eye-roll-worthy expressions like 'back to the drawing board' and 'get the ball rolling', the term 'big picture' has been overused in corporate lingo to the point that it has almost lost its meaning.
What's the big picture, really?
The big picture is just another expression for vision, and there is no leadership without it.
Vision is a clear picture of where your business should be, an impression of the future you're working toward that gets you and your employees excited and keeps you motivated.
A business without a vision (and a visionary leader) is unlikely to do anything particularly groundbreaking or go far.
How do you develop a vision for your business?
1. It begins with a dream.
The basic building block of your vision is a goal you would like to achieve, and this goal will come from observing the world around you.
What can your business do to make life better?
What need(s) can it meet?
Picture the things you can do to make an impact. No matter how grand it seems, if your dream is rational, you can probably bring it to life.
2. Refine your thoughts.
From the first step, you will most likely have more than one dream. At this point, you will need to look inward to determine which of these dreams is most important to you. Examine your life experiences, principles and values; is there any of the dreams that connects with one or more of these things? A dream infused with elements of your personality can lead to a powerful vision people will connect with strongly. Once you have identified your most important dream, translate it into a clear statement. This will help with understanding it (for you) and communicating it (for others).
3. Test the vision.
You can't bring your vision to life without people and their feedback is extremely important to refining what you have pictured. Have as many verbal conversations you can about the vision, giving people room to express their opinions of it and watching their level of excitement as you explain what you've envisioned. Talking about your vision this way will help clarify it and listening to people's feedback will help refine it even further.
4. Add the fine details.
To make your vision actionable, you must develop a step-by-step plan from it. This will provide directions for everyone who will execute it. Your employees cannot work with vagueness. Define roles and tasks in the execution of the vision and begin to assign responsibilities.
5. Adjust as you go.
There's hardly any perfect vision. As you execute and take feedback from employees and customers, be prepared to make adjustments. Listen to both favourable and unfavourable feedback (not everyone will agree with you) and use the information you gather to update your vision. But as much as flexibility is vital, you must never compromise on the values and principles at the core of vision.
The bottom line:
Your business needs a vision to thrive and make significant impact. As its leader, you are responsible for developing, communicating and overseeing the adoption of that vision. Use your vision to guide the everyday operations of your business so the standards you've pictured can be met.
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