Why Vision Is More Important Than Strategy

Vision and strategy are both important. But there is a priority to them. Vision always comes first. Always. If you have a clear vision, you will eventually attract the right strategy. If you don’t have a clear vision, no strategy will save you.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MAEK123, Image #2813602

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MAEK123

I have seen this over and over again in my professional and personal life. Once I got clear on what I wanted, the how almost took care of itself. Let me give you an example.

In July of 2000, my boss suddenly resigned. I was already the Associate Publisher of the division, the second-in-command. With his departure, I was asked to take his job. I became the publisher of Nelson Books, one of the trade book divisions of Thomas Nelson.

I knew our division was in bad shape. But I didn’t know how bad things really were until I became the publisher. I took a deep breath and began to assess reality. Here’s what I found:

  • We were the least profitable division of fourteen in the Company. We had actually lost money the previous year. People in the other divisions were mumbling about our performance and how we had drug the whole company down.
  • Revenue growth had been basically flat for three years. In addition, we had just lost our single biggest author to a competing publishing company. This made revenue growth going forward even less likely.
  • As a percentage-of-revenue, inventory and royalty advances were the highest in the company. In other words, we were the least efficient users of working capital. We were consuming enormous corporate resources and providing virtually no return to our shareholders.
  • We were publishing about 125 new titles a year with ten people. Everyone was overworked and the quality of our output showed it. We simply had too much to do.

Honestly, things could not have been worse. However, as the new divisional executive, I recognized that things could not have been better for me. This was a great career opportunity. If I turned the division around, I would be a hero. If I didn’t, that would be okay, too. After all, the division was a mess when I inherited it. I couldn’t lose.

The first thing I did was to go off on a private retreat. I had one objective in mind. I wanted to get crystal clear on my vision. What did I want to see happen? What would the division look like in three years? I didn’t care about strategy; I was only concerned with vision.

Through the years, I had learned that if you think about strategy (the “how”) too early, it will actually inhibit your vision (the “what”) and block you from thinking as big as you need to think. What you need is a vision that is so big that it is compelling, not only to others, but to you. If it’s not compelling, you won’t have the motivation to stay the course and you won’t be able to recruit others to help you.

For example, if I had been strategic before I was visionary, I might have said, “Well, I don’t see how we can accomplish much. The situation is so dire. We don’t have many resources to work with. Let’s just try to get to break-even this next year. Maybe we can reduce our working capital some by selling off a little obsolete inventory. And, maybe we can sign a few new authors and get a little revenue growth.”

Do you think anyone would have gotten excited about this? Would this vision have attracted the right authors? Would it have retained the right employees? Would it have secured additional corporate resources? I don’t think so.

The problem is that people get stuck on the how. They don’t see how they could accomplish more, so they throttle back their vision, convinced that they must be “realistic.” And, what they expect becomes their new reality. This is simply faith applied negatively.

I didn’t take this approach. Instead, I developed a vision statement that I found compelling. If I couldn’t get excited about it, I couldn’t sell it to others. Instead, I gave myself permission to envision the perfect future. Here’s what I wrote down:

Vision Statement

Nelson Books is the world’s largest, most respected provider of inspirational books.

  1. We have ten “franchise authors” whose new books sell at least 100,000 copies in the first 12 months.
  2. We have ten “emerging authors” whose new books sell at least 50,000 copies in the first 12 months.
  3. We are publishing 60 new titles a year.
  4. Authors are soliciting other authors on our behalf because they are so excited to be working with us.
  5. The top agents routinely bring us their best authors and proposals because of our reputation for success.
  6. We place at least four books a year on the New York Times bestsellers list.
  7. We consistently have more books on the Christian bestsellers list than our competitors.
  8. We consistently exceed our budget in revenue and margin contribution.
  9. Our employees consistently “max out” their bonus plans.
  10. We are the fastest growing, most profitable division in our company.

Once I had this on paper, I came back to the office and called a meeting with my entire staff. I reviewed our current reality. I was brutally honest. The situation was dire, and I didn’t pull any punches.

I then shared the new reality—the vision—and described it in as much detail as I could. I was genuinely enthusiastic and committed. Because I found the vision compelling, most of the them did, too. Some were slow to get on-board, but in the end, even the most reluctant ones came around.

I personally read through this vision daily. I prayed over every part. I asked God to guide us. Little by little, He brought us the strategy and the resources. However, I spent way more time—probably ten-to-one—focused on the what rather than the how.

When people would ask, “How in the world are you going to accomplish this?”, I would just smile and say, “I’m not sure, but I am confident it is going to happen. Just watch.”

And, guess what? It happened. I thought my initial vision would take at least three years to accomplish. Amazingly, we had an almost complete turnaround in eighteen months. We exceeded almost every aspect of our vision.

Over the next six years, Nelson Books was consistently the fastest growing, most profitable division at Thomas Nelson. It had one bestseller after another. It was home to almost all of our company’s bestselling authors during that time.

This didn’t happen because we had a great business strategy. It happened because we had a clear vision of what we wanted to achieve. That’s where it started, and that’s where you have to start if you want to experience a different reality than the one you have now, you have to get clear on what you want.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Get alone with just a journal and a pen. If you can get a way to a solitary place, so much the better.
  2. Make sure you won’t be interrupted. Turn off your cell phone, e-mail, television, etc.
  3. Close your eyes and pray. Ask God for inspiration and guidance. What you ultimately want is alignment between His plan and your vision. But don’t make this harder than it needs to be. God usually speaks through our desires. If that’s a new thought, then read John Eldredge’s book, Desire: The Journey We Must Take to Find the Life God Offers.
  4. Write down your current reality—all the things that you don’t like. Be brutally honest. It’s difficult to change unless you find your current reality unacceptable.
  5. Now write down what you would like to see happen. Write it down in detail. If you can, use all five senses. Write it in the present tense, as though it has already happened. This will make it more believable to you.
  6. Share your vision with the people who have a stake in the outcome.
  7. Commit to reading your vision daily. This is critically important. “Faith is the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The more you can “see” this, the more likely it will come to pass.

Remember: Don’t get hung up on how you will accomplish your vision. Just believe God and watch it come to pass.

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  • http://mackrillmedia.com/ Jud Mackrill

    My favorite take away from this is that you kept your vision as part of your daily focus. Its easy to think you are going to get a vision and then everything will just flow toward it. In reality you need that daily kick to keep your eyes focused on what you are seeking to achieve. 

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      I have fallen to the deception of just writing out my vision and then never taking a look at it. It loses it’s power when we do not review it very regularly!

  • Brian Jaggers

    Great Post! My pastor Craig Groeschel spoke on vision once and the verse has stuck with me since… “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Prov 29:18KJV

  • http://twitter.com/CurtisOFletcher Curtis O. Fletcher

    Funny, we argues this same thing in  graduate class on leadership.

    I think vision comes first but it HAS to be strategically possible. That doesn’t mean we limit our vision thinking but it does mean we have to have a reality check.

    I recently worked for an oraganization that came up with a grand 10 year vision, announced it, got people excited about it, put a stamp on it. Then they started checking to see how they could get there strategically and discovered they could not, at least not given the organizational operating principles that were already set in stone.

    It went from “vision” to “goal” to “desired capacity”. It went from vision to significant distraction.

    Dream big yes, but dream smart…to me THAT combination is what leadership is about.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, it’s totally iterative. I agree.

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Great feedback Curtis. I was reminded of a previous post about focusing on your strengths . Your vision must be tempered by your core competencies and resources.

  • http://mylifeasanadventure.com/ barbara

    such excellent post, Michael.  Thank you! 

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    Vision is definitely a catalyst. When I look back over my life, I see that I naturally had vision for improvement most of the time. I rarely knew “how,” but the vision drove the “how” to fall into place. Maybe if I’d have been more deliberate about the process, I would have more success at this halfway point in life. My vision is to have a blog ministry that helps other Christians to live deliberate, intentional and determined lives. I want to help them find balance, be curious and age gracefully. In doing all of this, I want to help others to “make the most of every opportunity” that God has given them. Not sure HOW that will happen, but at least the vision is there.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    Without a vision, your strategy would have died.  You had to know what direction you wanted to go.  Good words .

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      This was a great lesson for me!

  • Poejensenpublicity

    I agree that you need to focus on your goals because you will live accordingly. If you don’t see your life as valuable and full of purpose, you won’t push yourself to do more. With that said, I realize I need to write down my specific personal goals as well as professional. This year, I will finish writing my non-fiction book about how people go through awful circumstances and find peace in God when nothing else brings comfort. So far, the working title is “If There Is a God, Why?”

  • Rob Sorbo

    How much of this is a strengths role? I’m terrible at being visionary, but I’m great at being strategic, and I’ve worked with great visionaries who are terrible at strategy. 

  • Jeff Keady

    Mike – What a great blog post today!  Thanks for inspiring, informing, and equipping!

  • Michael Mulligan

    Another great post, Michael.  My wife and I are going through some major changes in our lives and we’re planning on sitting down together for a weekend to complete the “Life Plan” you emailed last week.  Today’s message is the perfect complement to your life plan. I copied your vision statement and pasted it into my welcome page on my blog, then replaced each item with my own personal vision.

    #3 (close your eyes and ask pray) hit me the hardest because if my dreams aren’t in alignment with what God wants for my vision, it’s pointless to write anything down.  Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/kimthebruce Kim Bruce

    Love this, Mike.  I must admit that I get a bit of a ‘high’ off of strategy sessions (‘strategic’ is in my Strengths Finder top 5).  I have been in very boring strategy sessions, and very encouraging ones, and the difference is always about whether or not there is an exciting vision in place.  Great post!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Kim. I agree. It has to be compelling or most people won’t do the work to get it done.

  • Jill Farris

    I was so inspired today Michael. Thank you. My ultimate goal when I speak to moms is to inspire them with a vision for motherhood. I often start with a quote or a story about a mother who changed the life of her children and changed the world.  God has created women to be incredibly influential in the lives of their loved ones but it is easy to lose the vision when the world is constantly telling them that what they do doesn’t really matter; that a low paid child care worker can do the same thing.

    This post affirmed that I am on the right track when I speak…and it reminded me to rewrite my own vision list. Thanks so much.
     
    Jill Farris
    http://www.jillcampbellfarris.com

  • Noah

    I needed to hear this today Michael.  Thanks for giving advice as someone that’s been there to someone that is there (me, minus the publisher of Nelson Books part).

  • http://www.wonderwomanimnot.com/ Elizabeth

    I agree vision is important because sometimes reality is so overwhelming!  The main product that the copmpany that I work for makes is in a declining market, at times the future seems predestined and dismal.  However, there are two ways that I try to look at it. 

    1)  Leadership changes have recently been made and it does feel like there is a vision.  It won’t be easy to get to, but knowing that there is hope up ahead helps keep everyone rowing their hardest.

    2)  Sharing the company vision and our department’s vision with  my group.  As a leader within the company it is not only my job to share the company vision with my group but to make sure they have a clear vision as to what we can do to help the company be successful.  Ensuring that we are a world class team will help not only our department to succeed but will affect the bottom line of the company.

    Good reminder that I need to schedule a retreat for myself!

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      I felt the same way! I get caught in the minutiae of the day-to-day operations of my company and consistently forget where I am heading. If I forget to look forward long enough, I end up getting lost. This post was a call to action for me to set aside some time to focus on the vision for my company and related projects. 

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    Thanks Mike. Great post. I’m working through issues like this right now. There’s a huge difference between making reactionary decisions based on fear versus making progressive decisions based on what potential could be.

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      Agreed!

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Your comment reminds me of the phrase, “Living life on purpose.” You are exactly right.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Amen to that. Only in recent years have I become aware of how destructive fear can be.

  • Gina Sismilich

    Not only do I have to have a vision – I need God’ help to see what isn’t visible!   l thank you for that reminder.  Also – vision gives us purpose – strategy alone won’t do that.  

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    This is so cool that you wrote about this today. I’ve been working on changing this and focusing on what I want to see happen, not necessarily how I’m going to get there first. Though I need to plan that part out to a certain extent, since I’ve changed my viewpoint, God has been doing big things. 

    One of the big things was to stop saying I wanted to be a writer and actually call myself one. Since doing that, doors have opened and big opportunities have come forward. 

    Thanks for your inspiration. 

    • Rachel Lance

      So glad you were served by today’s post, Sundi Jo.
      The little shift into present tense is a big one for me too.

  • http://tea4kate.com/ Kathryn Barker

    Great post! We’ve used this technique for years…works every time! My Sweet Husband and I actually used “vision” to establish our concept of family and as a parenting tool. So many “how to” strategies are floating around regarding how “family” is created and “how to” raise children, but without a  clear “vision” one could easily become a flip-flopper trying one and then another, leading to confusion and chaos.

    Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish…..
    (KJ)

    I know this verse is subject to many interpretations…but it speaks to me about the need for clarity.

    Thanks again for an engaging blog!

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Thank you for sharing Kathryn. As I read the post today, I started thinking about all of the areas of my life where I didn’t have a clear vision. Family was one of them. Mind sharing what your “vision” is for your family? It would certainly benefit me.

  • Anonymous

    My vision is to help people get a job.  The vehicle to help people is my website and public speaking.  Even if one important concept is revealed to assist someone in acquiring a job, I would be thrilled.  
    In my experience the job search process is changing constantly via social media and the ever changing economy.  Many individuals are behind in changing with the times.
    That is my vision.  Anyone with guidance, advice or capital, please feel free to contact me to help me achieve my vision.  http://www.JobCoachHQ.com

  • http://www.themlmattorney.com/about Kevin Thompson

    This is fantastic, Mike.  The “Why” is always more important than the “How.”  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Fedders-Brouwer/100000210427442 Lisa Fedders Brouwer

    I like that you referenced John Eldredge’s book Desire.  As I read it,  I feel empowered as John encourages the reader to not bury desire but dive into it and “live the life we prize”.  So often we neglect our desires and are just comfortable with what is going on around us.  Desire transforms the heart and a compelling vision is the result.

    I, too, have a vision for my life thanks to my coach at Building Champions.  It is the penning of the strategy that has been the hardest part for me.  But I know that working through the process will be rewarding.  Having a vision with no plan is frustrating!

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

    This is just what I needed to Start 2012 the right way, a solid vision. I was going about it backward and asking how. Thanks it was right on time.

  • http://twitter.com/OpHugAHero Operation Hug-A-Hero

    Your post today couldn’t have come at a better time.  Thank you for the tools on how to start this process.  We have a vision at Operation Hug-A-Hero, but I do believe we need to refresh, revive and refocus.  There is no better way than to first turn it over to Him and hear what He envisions through us.  Thank you so much. 

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      Yes turning it over to God is a great way to start! If prayer is not a part of forming our vision then we are starting in the wrong place.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      The name “Operation Hug-A-Hero” provides a GREAT slogan to help cast a vision!  What a huge vision casting tool.  Good luck as you refresh, revive and refocus!

  • http://www.springmemarketing.com/ asenath

    Over and over again, the “how” paralizes me as it does many people. It stops me in my tracks from dreaming big, seeing a huge vision, and when I say paralize, I literally mean atrophy of the work I must at least try and be in action with. I think it is human nature.

    As a BIG Vision kind of person, for myself and my business, coming up with the how seems to have a way to worked itself out when I fell in love with my vision, and turned it over to other amazing, hand selected, creative and capable team to lean on and help me achieve my vision. :)

  • Anonymous

    Michael, for an independent writer/blogger like me, would a vision coincide with how you put together your elevator pitch?  It seems like it’s essentially sharing your vision with someone else.  Your thoughts?

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Hi Paula. Thought I would chime on in this question. I think vision is an integral part of your elevator pitch. Without a clear idea of where you are going, you will never be able to lead any one there.

      • http://www.faithfulchoices.com/ Paula

        Thanks Jason.  I love that you call yourself and accidental techie.  I guess the same could apply to me.  I write, I blog, I learn.  Now I’m becoming a social media expert.  When did that happen?

        • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

          Yep, I didn’t go to “school” to learn how to build websites or use social media…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think it’s probably just a question of scope. An elevator pitch is like a vision for a specific project. Does that help?

      • http://www.FaithfulChoices.com/ Paula

        Yes.  If I understand what you’re saying,  a vision could contain portions of an elevator pitch but the elevator pitch doesn’t include the whole vision.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Babich/100002993676826 Jane Babich

    So very important to know and be reminded.  Vision first! My vision is to break the barrier between Business and Ministry, and to train business and ministry leaders that God honors both. 
    One is not better or more needed in the Body of Christ, the Church, or the Marketplace.  The vision has not changed but the “how to” has changed over the years. Thanks for the reminder.. Vision first, last and always will open up the strategy for each season.

    • Jim Martin

      Jane, I really like your last line.  “Vision first, last, and always will open up the strategy for each season.”  I like this.  Putting energy into clarifying the vision can actually help make the strategy clear.

  • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

    Vision without strategy is day-dreaming.

  • http://www.turningthepage.info/ Barry Pearman

    Thanks for sharing this Michael. 

    I will use the seven steps today to dream. 

    One of my heroes of faith was George Mueller  who saw a need to care for the orphans of Victorian England. His vision was to build orphanages, he didn’t have a strategy, he just believed. 

    Miracle upon miracle of provision came to him. 

    I have a sketchy vision of supporting people in their recovery from Mental Illness through Christian Soul Talk and Spiritual Formation. 

    Today I will go seek some more clarity for my vision

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Sometimes believing is the first step. Even believing the impossible.

  • Carrie :)

    Thank you for this. . . as a church administrator, I’m a little notorious for thinking strategy and not vision (since our Senior Pastor is a great visionary). However, as I look at the administration team (or the actual formation of one), I can see why I’m struggling to find people to join – I really don’t have a vision of what I want the team to be so it’s hard to convey the “why”. 

    This week, I’m headed for a 24 hour solitude retreat and now know what I’m going to be praying and processing with God. :) Thank you for the timing of this!!!

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Thanks for the comment Carrie. I pray that God speaks to you and gives you great vision for your ministry.

  • http://twitter.com/_ruthiedean Ruthie Dean

    I am going to share this with our Nelson Fiction team! It’s easy to ‘settle in’ to what is realistic–but that doesn’t land NYT bestsellers, etc. Thanks for writing.

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Settling in is so easy to do, isn’t it?

  • http://www.mikebechtle.com/ Mike Bechtle

    Michael – I think one of the most refreshing things in life is when God orchestrates the timing of things to exactly meet the needs of people.  Today was one of those, where I actually went to a coffee shop with the purpose of thinking through my direction for the next 10 years.  I’ve been sorting through options and thinking through strategies, but needed “something” to pull it all together.  My focus has been on strategy, not vision.

    Then I came across this post — the exact answer I needed at the exact time.  So in the past hour, I’ve just crafted a draft of a vision statement based on your input.

    I feel like the puzzle is finally coming together.  I’ve been focusing on the pieces, and you just reminded me to focus on the picture on the box.

    Thanks.  Just know that God used you this morning.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Awesome, Mike.

    • Rachel Lance

      That is refreshing, Mike, so glad for your breakthrough!
      Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.transformingleader.org/ Wayne Hedlund

    This is a great reminder. It’s so easy to get stuck in ‘do’ mode without fully clarifying the vision. I read a book a couple years back that has made a big difference in strategic planning for me. It has 5 simple steps and vision definitely comes before the strategy. For anyone interested, it’s called ‘Being Strategic’ by Erika Andersen and the 5 steps are:

    1. Define the Challenge (What problem are you trying to address?)
    2. Clarify ‘What Is?’ (What resources – SWOT – do you have available?)
    3. Envision ‘What’s the Hope?’ (VISION)
    4. Face ‘What’s in the Way?’ (What are the barriers for success?)
    5. Determine ‘What’s the Path?’ (Strategy)

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      “What’s the Hope?” – that’s a great vision question!

  • Heather Goodwill

    Thank you so much for the post! I have often times thought about the strategy before the vision simply because applying a strategy gives the impression that I am doing something! Boy, was I wrong! Thank you! 

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Strategy can give us the illusion we are in control. It feels good.

      • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

        So true, Jeremy.   The control feels good … until we realize that we accomplished all of our goals and don’t have anything meaningful to show for it.  

  • Adam Pearson

    Michael, thank you for this post. Incredibly timely as I mull over the opportunity take on a turnaround opportunity. Like you said, vision is the what, strategy is the how, purpose is the why.

  • Debbie McGoldrick

    NBS2go

    Neighborhood Bible Study 2 GO

     

    VISION:  Women loving and gathering neighbors to study
    the Bible in every community around the world.

     

    MISSION:  To encourage and equip women everywhere to begin
    Neighborhood Bible Studies.

    Your blog was timely – encouraged me to keep on keeping on with the vision God has placed on my heart that is much bigger and wider than I can put my mind around. By FAITH I am listening intently, following intentionally without delay, discussion or doubt whatever He leads me/our team of ordinary women to do as we put together NBS2go website and beyond.

    Debbie McGoldrick – Atlanta, GA

     

  • Brandon Jones

    This is a great post! I really like how you explain the importance of having a clear vision. So many people in management forget the importance of where they are going because thy bogged down by how they are moving forward. They focus solely on the how when the what is far more important. Thanks! Brandon Jones

    • Jim Martin

      Brandon, you describe well the reality of so many people.  They get “bogged down by how they are moving forward.”  You are right.  They get overly focused on the how and forget the what.

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    It really does.  Thanks for stimulating my thinking!

  • Edwina Cowgill

    Thanks for a great and, for me, a timely post. I’ve been indecisive over a career decision for weeks and my husband keeps saying “you have to decide what you want.” Your post has made me realize that I need to cast a new vision. Blessings!

    • Jim Martin

      Edwina, I like this line from your husband: “you have to decide what you want.”  That line really does point to the necessity of vision.

  • Gatheringofwaters

    Today i was sooo depressed..I so needed to read this… I was about to give up …. I know now was lead to you to stand up ..dust myself off and get back to where the Creator has shown me I could go…through a vision.
    THANK YOU!

    • Jim Martin

      Gatheringofwaters, so glad Michael’s post was helpful and encouraging to you today.

  • Laura Roderick

    Your summation of the “What” being more important than the “how” is right on- In retrospect, I look back at what I’ve acocmplished in my life and wonder “how did I do all that?” with the only true answer being: I had a vision, and let my passion for manifesting taht vision be my sightless guild- the captain in the fog, using the compass of faith to safely take me to the deep harbor of success.
    ~Laura Roderick

  • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

    Michael this was an excellent post. I have studied, written and taught about vision the last couple of years. I am a firm believer that the vision (what) comes first and the strategy (how) comes next. If you don’t have the strategy the vision will never come to past. I call it working your plan. I actually developed a plan I call the 5 elements of a powerful vision. I wrote an article at http://www.leadtoimpact.com/?p=933#more-933 about these 5 elements.  Your article helped with my position on vision. Thanks

    • Jim Martin

      Bernard, you are right.  This was an excellent post.  I like the way you express this: “…the vision (what) comes first and the strategy (how) comes next.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing the link, Bernard. I will check it out.

      • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

        Michael have you had time to check out the link? If you have, what did you think. I am working on a new one that was inspired from your article titled, “Do you have sight or vision?’ From all the comments that you have received vision is a huge topic.

        Thanks,
        Bernard Haynes
        http://www.leadtoimpact.com

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Bernard,
      Checked out your post and it’s really great.
      Like I said on your site, I love that your plan begins with God and ends with hustle!

  • http://www.DrAngelaBisignano.com/ Angela Bisignano

    Great post Mike!

  • http://www.producewithpassion.com Dan McCoy

    You have NO idea how timely this was or how much God just used you to solidify his plan in my life.   You see my company is about to launch a huge suite of tolls and services aimed at eliminating distraction in ministry and I have been busy executing on my 2012 vision when out of the blue I get a call from a current client with an addition through a joint venture that will be this suite stellar!   It all started when I woke up and read this.  Dear God, not sure what you have in store but as I posted on facebook today…   Vuja De: the distinct feeling that something like this has never happened before.  Thanks Michael. 

    -Dan (Lead… Laugh… Live.)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love the vuja de comment!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Dan,
      I am totally going to use the Vuje-De line in the future! Great stuff! I hope the launch goes well!

  • http://henryfiallo.wordpress.com/ Enrique Fiallo

    Really terrific Michael! What is my vision? Well, (he sheepishly responds), I didn’t really have one, until know. I was merely “doing stuff”. So I sat down as you suggested (hard to do at a moments notice but I did not want to put it off for one more second), I banged out a rough draft. I’ll go back ,and fine tune it, shape it, and keep improving it, but, as a first pass, boy what a difference it made just in the way I started considering WHAT I was doing, what I should NOT do, and even HOW I spent the valuable minutes and hours in my day. So what is my vision? 

    I am a respected,
    best-selling, widely followed and sought after author, speaker, coach and blogger on
    Leadership, Personal Development, Ethics, and Team Building.  

    I have a bit more detail underneath this, but that’s the basic vision. Thanks for this post. You have a real knack for sharing just what I need, just in time!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      What a great start, Enrique! 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great job, Enrique. I love it. I can’t wait to hear how it comes to pass!

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    My vision is to have my internet business take off to the point where it supports our family. This way we aren’t locationed based and can go and help out missionaries from our church that are in Kenya, where most of my family is. I could perosnally give them the Gospel!
    We would also like to settle in Hawaii and start a ministry counseling couples through some of the issues we have overcome!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Kimanzi, thanks for sharing your vision.  I hope I’m not offending you by this, but it seems that your internet business vision is really a strategy.  It seems that your vision starts with helping missionaries and the people of Kenya.   What a great cause!  It seems that while the internet business could have a vision of its own, it appears to be more a way to make the Kenya vision happen.

      That’s also a great vision for counseling couples through issues that you have overcome.  Helping others from your own experiences brings purpose to your own trials!  

      You obviously have great plans!  I hope you can find the time to really hash out the details of your ultimate vision using Michael’s steps above.   I also hope you will share it here when you do!

      • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

        No, I’m not offended, I’m a brutally honest person, so I appreciate the same. You do make some very good points, thank you. I will keep you up to date on our progress. We actually have started a site to chronicle this journey: excitingfamilyjourney.com

        • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

          Kimanzi,
          I took a peek at the site and this looks really exciting! I love that you are leading a great story, and journey, with your family! You are to be commended! Many prayers!

          • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

            Hey barry, thank you for the kind words. It’s hard to read great blogs like this one, Seth Godin,Dan Miller and many more and not take action. Life is too short to watch other people move forward while we’re still stuck in the same place!

        • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

          Very cool, Kimanzi. Best wishes on the project!

          • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

            Thanks so much John!

  • http://jenniferdawnmclucas.com Jennifer Dawn McLucas

    I really needed this today. Really. I can see now that I have applied strategy after strategy to change my circumstances but have somehow failed to really identify where I am going. Thank you so much for including the 7 recommended steps, without them I’m not sure I’d know where to begin identifying the change that needs to take place.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Jennifer, you are not alone.  Most of us have chased strategy before vision with less-than-desirable results.  Good luck as you make this positive change!

  • Sven

    Hi there
    What so you think about visions in christian assemblys? Or is this just a business thing?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I believe EVERY organization needs a vision, whether it is a business, a church, a non-profit organization, or even a family.

  • Kay

    My dream is to become a successful published author.  Although I have the majority of my book written and have studied technique in college and through courses and websites, I find that life always gets in the way of that quiet, creative place I used to know so well.  I can’t stop life from distracting me, but I find I have a hard time just sitting down to finish editing anymore.  I love your inspirational msgs, and I am going to just believe from now on and not try to figure out the “how” so much, knowing that if I have faith, creativity will come back to me when it needs too.  Thanks!

    • http://twitter.com/CunninghamOrtiz Stephanie Ortiz

      Hi Kay, I’m right there with you on every single point that you made (okay I studied through writing centers, not in college) so I’m a “little” older than you are:)  But it’s conforting for me to hear that I’m not alone in my vision, and neither are you…

      • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

        Stephanie,
        Well said.

         

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Kay,
      Thanks for sharing your heart here.  I think all of us go through those seasons that you are speaking of, and you have a good attitude about it—as you look ahead. Keep up the great work, Kay.

      • Jim Martin

        Barry, you make a good point here.  I also think that all of us go through similar seasons.  It is a challenge not to let such a season color the way we see all of life.  An attitude (such as the one Kay reflects) really does help.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Kay, the one advice repeated by successful authors is write. I just read that writing nugget again today at Write-to-Done http://writetodone.com/2012/01/23/writing-secrets-of-prolific-authors/ . I have a blog post–”When Does Inspiration Come?” http://tnealtarver.com/2011/11/23/when-does-inspiration-come/ –that addresses the truth about inspiration. Keep writing and God bless.

  • http://www.setongod.com/ Joshua OneNine

    I love it when I have enough time to get alone with God. They are always fulfilling times of great pray and worship. Next time though, I should make a new vision for my life and my blog.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Joshua,
      Sounds like a great plan. Go for it!

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Time alone seems to be the key to developing a clearer vision, that listening-to-God time. A day apart seems to be the practical step I need to take. God bless you as you spend time with Him as well.

      • http://www.setongod.com/ Joshua OneNine

        Thank you, and God bless you!

  • Gentsent

    To Bring Christian leaders from third world Nations for training and then send them back to train others.