Want to know three words you’ll never hear from anyone who’s built anything of value? “It just happened.” As much as we all wish we could push an easy button some days, winning takes hard work and a vision your whole team is fired up about. That’s why one of your most powerful leadership tools is vision casting. When you paint a clear picture of the future you want for your company, you and your team can set goals and work together to bring that vision to life.
But how do you cast a vision that gets team buy-in? First, you need to understand what vision casting really is and why it’s important. Then you can rally others around the bright future you see.
What Is Vision Casting?
The definition of vision casting really is as straightforward as it sounds: You create a picture—a vision—of what a better world could look like with the help of your product or service. Then you pass your vision to others. Bam! You’ve casted a vision.
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Hold on though. A lot of leaders make this big vision-casting mistake: They jumble their dreams, vision and mission—and they end up confusing their team too. Then no one knows where they’re heading, let alone why or how to get there. So, let’s take a quick look at the role your dreams, vision and mission play in guiding your business.
Dreams are fuzzy thoughts about what could be—those huge what ifs that usually hit you in the shower or when your first cup of coffee kicks in. Dreams are important because they show you believe in your business. But if you only dream and never do, you won’t move your business forward. Just like how a roasted duck won’t fly through your window because you dreamed about it last night, your business ideas won’t fly into action just because you thought them up on your drive to work. Dreams alone can’t go anywhere because, without vision, they don’t know where to go.
Vision is your ability to see what you hope for and your ability to create a path to bring what you see to life. Vision and dreams are alike in that they’re all about what’s possible. But vision comes with thought-out plans for how to make those dreams actually happen. And a strong vision is always tied to the purpose of your business.
Related article: What Is a Vision Statement and How Do I Write One?
Your mission, or your mission statement, is the heartbeat of your company. It tells the marketplace who you are and what you exist to do. Your mission also provides the guardrails for every vision you cast and every decision you make for your business.
Here’s an example of an aligned mission and vision: LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. Their vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
Here’s another example: Ramsey Solutions’ mission is to provide biblically based, commonsense education and empowerment that give HOPE to everyone in every walk of life. Our vision? We see a world where so many lives are radically transformed, the toxic culture is disrupted.
When used together well, your vision shows the world what your successfully lived-out mission looks like.
Related article: How to Write a Company Mission Statement
Why Is Vision Casting Important for My Company?
Now that you’re a pro at separating your dreams, mission and vision from each other, let’s look at why the art of vision casting is critical for your business. Imagine giving a team member the keys to your car and simply telling them to drive—with no destination and no directions. Now go one step further: Pretend your windshield is covered in mud.
That’s called driving blind. And it’s bound to end in disaster. Disaster happens when you expect your team to level up in their work results, but you don’t give them a clear path and or any idea where they’re supposed to end up. As money and small-business expert Dave Ramsey says, “You can’t get ‘there’ if you don’t know where ‘there’ is.”
Vision casting clears the mud, sets the course, and gets your team members excited. Here’s why:
- It strengthens your company culture. Clear vision gives your team a unified cause to work toward that’s bigger than they are.
- It attracts thoroughbreds. The bolder your cause, the more you’ll draw team members with the character and skills to help you achieve it. People quit companies where their work doesn’t matter. They join companies where they’re valued—and they join companies that latch onto big, hairy, audacious goals while working toward a crazy vision!
Related article: What Is a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal)?
- It encourages problem-solving. Take Ramsey Solutions’ vision to disrupt the toxic culture for example. Powerful visions cut to our emotions and energize us to dig into challenges, find solutions, and move forward.
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- It maps your course. Teams without a shared vision don’t have a reason to go the extra mile. They check off their daily duties and walk on a treadmill to nowhere. No thanks! When you cast vision, your team knows where you’re headed and everyone can commit to that direction.
- It encourages creativity and logic—from everyone. You develop your vision from blue skies and endless imagination. You achieve it with strategy and logic that connect the dots between the dreaming and the doing.
- It honors your history and plants seeds for your future. A strong vision celebrates your humble beginnings and the foundation you’ve laid. Your unique company story and every success along the way becomes fuel to reach the future you see.
- It spreads hope and courage. Great business leaders are hardwired with faith and hope. As you embrace your inner visionary, you spread hope and inspire your team to go after the impossible.
How Do I Share My Vision?
Ready to cast some vision? Great! Getting buy-in for where you’re moving (your vision) is a must. As Jim Collins puts it his book Good to Great, “Like the Daytona 500, the primary variable in winning is not the car, but the driver and his team.” When your team of thoroughbreds moves forward together, you’re on a path to greatness.
Sharing your vision well is a big deal. But if you follow these tips, it’s also a lot of fun.
- Fill your mental filing cabinet. Vision casting is learned. Read, research and study how other great visionaries communicate. Remember: Quality in, quality out.
- Use image-based words. When President John F. Kennedy said, “We’ll put a man on the moon,” his words clearly and decisively communicated NASA’s vision to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown.
- Tell stories that engage the senses. Andy Stanley, author of Visioneering, says you have to communicate your vision more than 20 times before your team starts to absorb it. Storytelling helps your team remember past victories and keeps them reaching ahead.
Related article: How to Communicate Effectively
- Use sayings. This is where some of your company values come in. If your vision is to disrupt the toxic culture and two of your core values are “Never quit” and “No fear,” connect them to your vision—a lot.
- Write it down. The biggest reason companies don’t reach their vision or achieve their goals is because they don’t write them down. Display your vision on your walls, website, onboarding documents—wherever you and your team can see it so you can keep moving toward it.
- Use metrics and measures. Let’s be clear: When you’re creating your vision, the last thing you want is to start with numbers and data. They’re the enemy of imagination. But once your vision is clear, tie it to goals and visual trackers. You can use a dashboard with green, yellow and red status indicators, a wall chart you fill in as you hit goals, or a map of new areas you serve. To stay on target, your team needs a tool that quickly answers: Are we winning? So get creative with your visuals.
Related article: What Is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?
What’s Next: Start Casting Vision
We busted the myth earlier that great businesses just happen. In reality, they actually go through five distinct stages, each with their own challenges. We call these the Stages of Business. If you’ve conquered basics like hiring, budgeting and time management but still need to nail down a clear direction for your business, you may be in the Pathfinder stage. In this stage, you’ll clarify your mission, vision and values, define roles, and learn to communicate effectively so your team is aligned and engaged in a shared direction.
Check out The EntreLeadership Podcast to learn more about the Stages of Business and how to cast your vision. On the podcast, you’ll hear time-tested wisdom from visionary business leader Dave Ramsey and others. You can even call in with questions!
A year and a half ago, before I started this EntreLeadership Advisory Group, I would’ve panicked and freaked out mentally through all the unexpected things that come with running a business. Now, I’ve learned how to plan—how to have a goal and a vision—and I can tell my team where we’re going and what we’re growing into. That makes it easier to fix things and retain team members.
— Jon H. HerpelLift Company