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Four-step vision inventory

By Jeff Henderson | August 24, 2021
Four-step vision inventory

There’s a difference between a movement and a promotion. 

A promotion starts big but quickly fades. 

A movement starts small but eventually builds. 

As leaders, we should be about movements — building something that lasts over time.  

Many organizations spend more energy promoting events and products instead of reinforcing vision. 

Sure, promotions have their place.  The problem is they compete with the language of the organization. 

A promotion requires volume. 

A movement requires vision.

Think of it this way.  Your organization has a finite number of words to communicate to those you’re serving and those on the team. 

It might not seem that way because we can post anytime on social media and talk all the time. Eventually, though, all those words compete against themselves — and what truly needs to be communicated is lost. 

Organizations that understand the power of language and vision understand that less is more and consistency is key. 

If you want to create a movement, you need to surround it with a compelling vision. 

A compelling vision requires the right language.  And once you have the right language, you must do something that is often overlooked or forgotten. 

Stay.  On.  Message. 

The most common vision mistake I see once organizations have the right language is that they drift off the message. 

There are lots of reasons for this.  We believe we’ve said it enough and that everyone has heard it — (huge mistake.)  We get bored with the same message.  Or, we’re not sure how to keep the vision fresh. 

I get it.  In fact, let me give you an example.  When I worked in the corporate marketing department at Chick-fil-A, one of my roles was working with the Atlanta Area Operators in the company’s hometown market.  The “Eat More Chicken” campaign had been going for a few years at this point and the Operators asked a good question.  “How much longer are we going to stay with Eat More Chicken?”    

We decided to do some research in hopes of figuring out how deeply this message had resonated in the Atlanta market.  Imagine our surprise when we discovered most Atlantans had not even heard of it.  As a result, we decided to stay on message.  

This illustrates one of the most important job responsibilities we have:  Leaders are Repeaters. 

We must communicate the vision over and over and over and over again. And when you think you’ve said it enough, say it again. 

Vision rarely repeated is quickly forgotten. 

The other mistake is that vision is usually communicated by just one or two people.  When this happens, it’s usually an indicator that the language isn’t portable.  Vision gets stuck when three or four people down the line in an organization can’t clearly articulate it to someone else.  Vision must be portable and memorable. 

A way to get there is to simply ask the question, “What do we want to be known FOR?”  

Hidden within this question is your vision and language. 

But once you have the language, you’ve got to put the vision on repeat. 

A common mistake with many organizations is they stop repeating and reinforcing the message. As a result, it becomes a promotion instead of a movement.

This is why it’s helpful to do a four-step vision inventory.  

1. Look around as if you’re a stranger by walking around your facility and visiting your website.  Write down the top 3 messages you see. Then, ask a few people to do the same and see if what they see matches up with what you wrote down.

2. Ask the team, “How would you communicate our vision if someone asked you about our organization in the grocery store?” 

3. Read and/or watch your messages, emails, and social media posts about the organization.  What is your dominant theme?  How consistently are you staying on message? 

4. Finally, write down this question and review it daily:  “What did I do TODAY to cast vision for our organization?”

And don’t forget: 

A promotion requires volume.

A movement requires vision.  If you want your vision to stick, you must stick with the vision. 

I can’t wait to join John Maxwell and other incredible leaders on October 8th for Live2Lead. This is just a taste of what I can’t wait to share with you that day: building a better vision, brand, and how to shift from being the best in the world to the best FOR the world.

I am so excited to be with you! Not to mention, the other 7 incredible speakers who will be with us as well. This is something you and your team need to invest in. A day full of leadership, personal, entrepreneurial, and cultural growth.

Click here to join me live in Atlanta, Ga. Or click here to join me virtually.

I can’t wait to see you there!

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