The vision is the expression of what we want to become, what we want to achieve. Your vision is your destination.
If you have small goals, you will get small results. If you have big goals, you will get big results. Since you have to create goals anyways, then why not big ones? Of course, in the long term, although it seems like the other way around, everything will become easier when you work the big goals in mind.
When IBM was a small company, CEO Thomas Watson visualized the large IBM we know today. Back then, it was called Computing Tabulating Recording Company, and it changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation so that it represented the vision of magnitude he had for the company. At the end of his life, when asked in which moment he saw IBM was going to be so successful, he answered: “at the beginning”. It´s easier to come back from a place than to get there. To do it, visualize the end, the accomplishment, and direct yourself towards it.
For it to be inspiring, the Vision has to be ambitious, an undertaking that stimulates and unites a whole organization towards an end. For it to be effective, it must be specific, imaginable, and real. NASA´s vision during the sixties was to put a man on the moon, and it united a whole nation around it. The Government asked all math teachers to enrol in advanced courses or in doctorates. In the beginning, they didn´t know how, but they knew they were going to make it.
Walt Disney died six years before the opening of Walt Disney World. Two executives were sitting together in the opening ceremony. One said: “It is a pity Walt couldn´t be here to see this!” To which the other one replied: “You are wrong. Walt saw it, that´s why it is here!”
Ford took it upon themselves to democratize the automobile, so that everyone could have one; Boeing was determined to be the leading player in the commercial aviation world; Komatsu set out to surpass American giant Caterpillar (CAT) with a phrase shouted in Japanese by everyone in the company: “Maru CAT” (surround CAT); General Electric decided to be the first or second company in every market it competed in; Nike intended to dethrone Adidas in the sixties; Stanford, to be the Western Harvard; SONY, to change the poor image of quality Japanese products had. ONEtoONE Corporate Finance, to have offices in all the cities worldwide that justify the presence of a mergers and acquisitions advisor. As you can see, it´s all about specific and stimulating motivations.
The Vision has to be daring, difficult and a real challenge. It may seem absurd to employees at the beginning, so, for them to believe in it, the leader must show an absolute determination to accomplish it. The key is not in the challenge but in the commitment.
Whoever has the vision is called a visionary because they see things others consider to be impossible, and make them come true.
A real entrepreneur must have imagination, visions and dreams. People consider the limitations of their vision to be the possible limitations to reality. An entrepreneur visualizes how that vision can become reality, gets into a frame of mind, and then starts materializing it by adding details on top of details.
If you do not have a challenging vision for your company, a vision that inspires your employees to go to work, it is better to sell the business because, in todays competitive environment, it will end up failing.
This article was written by Enrique Quemada, Chairman of ONEtoONE Corporate Finance Group