The Vision Statement As Your North Star

How you can turn your vision statement into a powerful tool to guide your company and your brand.

In his 2014 acceptance speech for Best Actor, Matthew McConaughey talked about constantly chasing his hero – himself in 10 years. McConaughey freely admitted he’d never fully achieve this vision of himself because his vision constantly evolves. But his hero gives him something to strive for, something to target, something to navigate his life choices by.

Similarly, companies should establish vision statements that look into the future and envision what the company might achieve in 5-10 years. And just like McConaughey, it should not be seen as problematic if this vision is unattainable. Instead, a company’s vision should act like a North Star, a long-range navigation point to help keep the company headed to their true North.

Devising a vision statement is not easy. It should start with a solid understanding of the company mission and the values that are core to the identity of the organization. Once those elements are established, the vision can look into the future and determine how the company will change the world. What difference will the company make? What changes to the business environment will the company bring? How will the mission and values impact the future?

Simple is better, and if you have done good work defining the right mission and values, writing out the destination of where that’s going to take you company shouldn’t be too difficult. It should flow logically from your mission but should not be a simple restating of that mission. It is the result of your mission.

So now you have your mission, which defines what you do. You have your values, which define how you do it. And you have a vision, which tells you why you matter and where your company is going.

But what is a vision statement good for on a day-to-day basis?

It is your guiding light. It gives your employees inspiration and tells them the long-term impact of their daily grind. And when the path becomes difficult to navigate, it gives everyone a far off point they can aim at. Ships go astray, veering too far one way or the other, but a well-formulated vision can serve as a course correction, a constant reminder of the end goal. It is your hero, your future self in ten years. It gives you someone to chase, something to strive for.

Done poorly, vision statements are wasted and meaningless space, but a properly devised vision statement can be a very powerful element in your company’s brand arsenal, and one that can keep employees engaged and on the right track.

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