Way back in my early days, I was just another suit in a big company, a small fish in a big-ass corporate pond. I was busting my hump, punching in the hours, doing everything I was told to do. But no matter how hard I worked, I felt like I was just spinning my wheels, stuck in the mud.

But then it hit me. Like a lightning bolt, like a flash of insight, like some divine intervention if you’re into that kind of thing. The key wasn’t just in the product we were selling or the hours we were grinding. It was in the vision. The grand, audacious, let’s-change-the-world kind of vision. The kind that gets you out of bed in the morning and makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

I had this misconception, see? I thought the vision was just corporate fluff, something the PR folks came up with to sound fancy in the press releases. But boy, was I wrong. It wasn’t just fluff—it was the freaking blueprint, the roadmap, the North Star guiding our ship through the rough and stormy seas of business.

Now, if you’re sitting there thinking, “Pssh, vision is just for PR. It’s like using a compass in the middle of the ocean. I mean, what’s the point?” Well, let me tell ya, kiddo, you couldn’t be more wrong. That compass, that vision, it’s what keeps you on track when the waves are crashing around you and you can’t tell up from down.

So, how do you build this so-called vision, you ask? It’s a delicate balance of continuity and change. And no, it doesn’t involve a crystal ball or tarot cards. This ain’t Hogwarts. It’s about understanding your core—your values and purpose—and mapping out where you want to go. It’s about dreaming big, setting audacious goals, and painting a vivid picture of the future. But don’t worry—I’ll guide you through the whole thing. Buckle up, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Unpacking the Framework

Before we get our hands dirty, let’s take a moment to unpack this sucker and see what we’re dealing with. Your company’s vision, that guiding light I was rambling about earlier, is a two-part deal. We’ve got your core ideology on one side and your envisioned future on the other. Think of it like a PB&J sandwich—both parts are delicious on their own, but when you put ’em together, magic happens.

Let’s start with the bread and butter of your company—the core ideology. This is the foundation, the bedrock, the essence of who you are as a company. And it’s got two elements: core values and core purpose.

Your core values, my friend, are your company’s moral compass. They’re the uncompromising, ironclad principles that guide your actions, no matter the circumstance. Let me stress this—core values are non-negotiable. They’re the rules you play by, even when they make your life harder. Why, you ask? Because these values are what make your company, well, your company. They’re what set you apart from the rest of the pack.

Then, we’ve got your core purpose. This is the why behind your company. Why do you exist? Why do you do what you do? And, no, making money isn’t the answer I’m looking for. That’s a result, not a purpose. Your purpose is the big-picture reason you’re in business—the change you want to bring about, the impact you want to have on the world. It’s what keeps you going, what fuels your passion and drive. Trust me, knowing your purpose can be a real game-changer.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff—the jelly of our PB&J, if you will. Your envisioned future. This is where you let your imagination run wild. It’s where you dream big, set audacious goals, and lay out a compelling vision of the future. Let’s take a page from Henry Ford’s book. His goal wasn’t just to build cars; it was to democratize the automobile, to make it available to everyone. Now that’s a stretch goal.

But dreaming big isn’t enough. You need to paint a vivid picture of what achieving this goal will look like. It’s not enough to say, “We want to be the best.” That’s about as exciting as watching paint dry. No, you need to be specific. You need to create a story that’s so compelling, so inspiring, that people can’t help but get on board.

So, that’s the framework in a nutshell. It’s about knowing who you are, where you’re going, and painting a kick-ass picture of the future. Simple, right?

Balancing Continuity and Change

Okay, time for the good stuff, the meat and potatoes, the crux of the matter. Now that we know the framework, we’re gonna chat about one of the trickiest parts of this whole vision business—balancing continuity and change. Sounds like some Zen stuff, right?

So, here’s the skinny. On one side, you’ve got your core ideology—those values and that purpose we just talked about. These are your constants, the parts of your company that stay steady no matter what. That’s your continuity. But hold up, don’t get too comfortable. Because on the flip side, you’ve got change. You’ve got your stretch goals, your envisioned future, and trust me, that’s gonna require some serious adaptation and evolution.

Let’s bring it to life. Imagine your company is a tree. Yeah, a big, beautiful, mighty oak. Your core ideology, that’s your roots. They’re buried deep in the ground, providing stability and nourishment. They’re not going anywhere. But up top, you’ve got branches reaching for the sky, growing, changing with the seasons. That’s your envisioned future, always striving, always pushing for more.

And let me tell you, you need both to survive. If you focus only on continuity, only on preserving your core, you become rigid, stuck in your ways. You might not keel over right away, but gradually, you’ll start to wither. On the other hand, if all you care about is change, is reaching for the sky, you’ll lose your grounding. The first strong wind that comes along, you’re gonna topple right over.

So the magic, my friends, is in the balance. It’s in honoring your roots while reaching for the stars. It’s in knowing what needs to stay the same and what needs to change. And it’s a balancing act that’s absolutely crucial to your company’s resilience and innovation. It’s what keeps you anchored, yet free to move with the wind. It’s about knowing your true north, but being savvy enough to adjust your sails when the winds shift.

The Discovery Process: Identifying Core Ideology

Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks. We’ve waxed poetic about the importance of a company’s core ideology—those unshakeable values and that deep-seated purpose. But how the hell do you figure out what yours is? Well, strap in, ’cause we’re about to embark on a journey of discovery.

First things first. Uncovering your core ideology isn’t about sitting in a room with a whiteboard and dreaming up a bunch of buzzwords that sound good. Nah, it’s about digging deep into the DNA of your company and revealing what’s already there. Core ideology isn’t made, it’s discovered. Think of it like a diamond in the rough—it’s always been there, you just gotta uncover it.

So how do you do that? Step one, gather your team. And I’m not just talking about the higher-ups. Get folks from every level of your company in on this. Different perspectives are gonna give you a more complete and authentic picture of your organization.

Next, start asking questions. What are the beliefs and values that guide your company’s actions? Why does your company exist beyond just making money? What would your company hold onto even if it was at a competitive disadvantage? These aren’t easy questions, and they’re not meant to be. They require introspection, debate, and a whole lot of honesty.

And here’s the kicker. Once you’ve identified your core ideology, you’ve gotta be ready to stand by it, even when the going gets tough. Remember, these are your guiding principles, your organizational north star. They’re not a fair-weather friend that disappears at the first sign of trouble.

Now, I know this sounds like a hefty task. And let me tell you, it is. There’ll be temptation to take shortcuts, to settle for some “cool-sounding” values that look good on paper. But resist the urge. The juice is worth the squeeze, folks. Because once you’ve identified your core ideology, you’ve got the foundation of your vision. You’ve got your roots.

From Ideology to Vision: Stimulating Progress

Alright, alright, alright. We’re picking up speed now, folks. You’ve got your core ideology figured out. That’s awesome! You’ve found your diamond. Now, what do you do with it? You’re going to use it to create a kick-ass vision that pushes your company forward.

Here’s where the switch happens. We’re moving from the internal to the external. We’ve been looking inward, getting to the heart of who you are as a company. But now? It’s time to look outward. It’s time to dream big, to set your sights on the future.

Now, I’m not talking about some wimpy, watered-down goals here. I’m talking about bold, stretch goals. These are the targets that might make your team a bit nervous. The ones that make your heart race. The ones that are going to require a hell of a lot of hustle and creativity to reach.

And here’s the thing about stretch goals—they’ve gotta be specific. They’ve gotta be measurable. “Be the best” isn’t going to cut it, my friends. Because how the hell do you measure “the best”? No, your goals need to be more like, “Increase our market share in the XYZ industry by 30% in the next 5 years.” That’s something you can track, something you can strategize towards.

But hold up. It’s not enough to just have these ambitious goals. You’ve gotta paint a picture of what it’ll be like when you achieve them. This is where vivid descriptions come in. You need to craft a compelling narrative that brings your envisioned future to life. This is about making the future palpable, about stirring up excitement and commitment.

So, how do you do that? Get creative. Use powerful, evocative language. Be specific. Instead of saying, “We’ll be successful,” say, “We’ll be the trailblazers in our industry, the ones setting the pace while our competitors scramble to keep up.”

Remember, you’re not just crafting a vision. You’re crafting a story. And in this story, your company is the hero, facing down challenges, pushing boundaries, and ultimately, achieving incredible things.

Conclusion: The Dynamic Power of Vision

Here’s the crux of it all—vision is dynamic. It’s the balance between preserving the core and stimulating progress. It’s the unchanging roots and the ever-growing branches. It’s the dance between who you are and who you strive to be.

A clear, well-articulated vision has the power to rally your team, to steer your company through storms, and to act as a beacon for future success. It’s not just some fancy statement you slap on your website and forget about. It’s a living, breathing entity that should permeate every facet of your organization.

So, my challenge to you? Start crafting your vision. Start unearthing your core ideology and dreaming up your envisioned future. Don’t shy away from the stretch goals, from the bold and audacious. Be brave. Be bold. Be visionary.

But remember, a foggy vision statement is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. And who needs that, right? So, let’s get to work. The future is calling, and it’s got your name written all over it.

About the Author: Geoffrey Byers
Geoffrey is one of the world's foremost Designers. He is also a Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, and Mad Scientist. Hypothesis-Driven experimentation is his love language.