Ever since we started a new vision exercise in our mastermind groups, I’ve had people ask the question: “Big A! How much time should we spend to come up with vision statements?”
Now, I know most of them well enough to know, they’re not asking me to pull a number out of a hat. They could take a pretty good guess at the time it takes to write a 2-3 sentence paragraph.
What’s unclear is how long it takes to come up with stuff that doesn’t yet exist. If you know where to look, it’s already inside you. But not too many people know how to get to it, or what to do when they find it.
If you ask me, coming up with an authentic vision and mission is parallel to hiring a virtual assistant or employee, to take over work you used to do yourself. You trade a small amount of time to train them, to get back a ton of time once they get to work.
So if we’re going to ask a question about amounts of time, I suggest we ask a different one: “How much time will I get back by knowing my core values, vision and mission?”
The answer to that is clear: much more long-term, than you’ll give up in the short term. Even more so if you do it in community, surrounded by trusted advisors like the men and women in our mastermind groups online.
Why So Much Time Up Front?
Partly for laughs, I want to give you a picture in your head to describe the difference this makes. Have you ever seen those memes online that show the difference between men’s and women’s clothes shopping habits?
Now, picture this. A company without clarity of values, vision and mission follows the men’s pattern to start ... they barely think about it! So when it comes time to execute, they end up looking more like the women’s shopping pattern - all over the place, like a huge pile of spaghetti.
Another company does the opposite. They take time to shop like ladies in thinking through their core values and mission, but when it’s time to execute, they look like the men: one line in, they find what they’re after, and one line out.
Now, if we know that money loves speed, we should go the second route. The female shopping pattern is great for the brainstorming part. We consider every angle, outcome, possibility and value. We discuss it at length, ask questions and let everyone have their say.
But once those issues are decided and everyone’s in alignment, we switch over to the male shopping pattern. We move in fast, execute on our strategy, make quick changes on the fly, achieve what we’re after, and “move on to Buffalo,” as Bill Belichick would say.
In other words, we should ask: “When would we prefer to spend time thinking through the intentions, methods and consequences of our actions? Before we’ve committed them, or after?”
If you chose “after,” you may want to stop reading. For everyone else, there are masterminds.
How Time Affects Vision
Generally, the larger and more complex your business is, the more time you’ll need to spend building strategy.
However, there’s a less obvious, but no less powerful, thing to consider. If you’re in executive leadership over a huge corporation, the length of time is obvious.
But, if you’re a solopreneur who chooses to think three to five years down the road … as though you’re already leading a much larger company … and you can take massive action to build steadily toward it … you’ll be surprised just how far you can get!
This is a teaser for something we’ll cover in next week’s blog - the power of dreaming big, and not having “small vision.” I just thought I should tell you … ahead of time. It sets the tone for what we’ll cover when we’re together again.
Remember, the more time you spend thinking like a lady’s shopping pattern up front, the more you can execute like a man’s pattern when the ink’s dry.
There isn’t really a “prescribed” amount of time you should do this, but I can tell you what I do, if it helps. I usually book a weekend in a hotel away from my normal surroundings, where I have time and space to think.
On most of these “vision trips,” I find I simply need to get a lot of things out on paper, so I can weigh them side by side and rank them. If you’ve ever seen those whiteboard exercises with sticky notes, it goes something like that.
Over the following several weeks, with the support of my business mastermind, I prune these priorities, until they’re down to 3-5 at the core. Then, I take time to think through them with reverse-engineering, like my friend Brian Moran outlines in his book, The 12-Week Year.
This leads to more sticky notes ... but now, they’re focused on core priorities. That’s okay, though, because by this time, I’m running the priorities through the ringer with my business coaches and mentors. I get multiple sets of eyes and ears on what I’m working on.
I hope you see from this, I’ve learned to follow the ladies’ shopping model when it comes to creating vision. Focus, time and the help of masterminds online help me trim it down to levels I can handle - so that execution looks more like men’s shopping.
But don’t forget, we don’t want to shrink the vision so much that you get comfortable and complacent. When you release the arrow, you’d better be aiming at a big target! That’s something we’ll cover in the next blog.
For now, I want to encourage you to visit our website and consider applying to become part of our mastermind groups online for men and women.