I woke up suddenly from a deep sleep in the back of the motorhome. 

The sounds of traveling down the highway at 75mph hit my ears, but there was nothing unusual. 

But deep inside, I knew something was wrong. I could feel it. I looked around the RV and counted heads. 

Yes, all 11 children were still there. (Yes, we have 11 children, and yes, when they were younger, we gleefully sandwiched them all into an RV and did cross-country road trips… it was amazing!) 

Glad to know we hadn’t left anyone behind, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. 

A few hours before, my 17 year old son, Jared, had taken over driving. It was very late and I needed some sleep. 

Jared is an amazing driver. He is alert, safe, and has an unusual ability to drive all night without getting worn out. When we are on road trips, he does his job very, very well. 

I walked up to the front of the RV. 

“How’s it going, son? Everything OK?” 

Jared took his headphones off and glanced over his shoulder. 

“Great dad! Just listening to The Count of Monte Cristo and enjoying the drive!”

I stood there for a minute, still sensing something was off. 

A road sign slowly came into view as the RV headlights light it up. 

It read, “I-10 East”. 

Then I knew what was off. 

“Jared, after we stopped for gas, did you turn right or left onto the freeway?” 

“Not sure. I think it was right.” 

I laughed and patted him on the shoulder. 

“Why don’t you take the next exit and turn around. We’re heading east… but home is west!” 

As I said, Jared was an ideal driver. He did everything right. 

But on this particular night, he drove us down the wrong road for a couple hours. 

Why? 

Because he did not have a vision of where he was going. 

Be Sure You’re On the Right Road

I see a great many organizations like this. 

The leadership is doing everything right… except they don’t know where they are going. 

As a result, they don’t get there… they don’t achieve great results… they struggle with serious profits… their marketing, ads, operations, and systems are all “correct”, but not really producing exceptional results. 

When Arnold Schwarzenegger was 11 years old, he saw a magazine with Reg Park on the cover. Reg had just been named Mr. Universe – the top bodybuilder in the world. 

Arnold says he instantly knew he wanted to do that. He wanted to be Mr. Universe and star in movies and make millions of dollars. 

“When you have a vision, life becomes easy….  and fun” – Arnold Schwarzenegger 

My question to you is this: 

Do you have a crystal clear vision of where you’re taking your company? 

If you don’t already have immediate, clear answers to these questions, it is well worth your time to invest in getting answers… into getting a simple, clear vision. 

Vision is the magic magnet that will bring all the solutions you need to overcome all your challenges. 

I love this quote from Edwin Land. Edwin holds 553 invention patents, including the Polaroid Camera and polarized lenses. 

He said… 

“If you dream of something worth doing and then simply go to work on it and don’t think anything of personalities, or emotional conflicts, or of money, or of family distractions; it is amazing how quickly you get through those 5,000 steps”.

~ Edwin Land

He also said… 

“Don’t undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.” ~ Edwin Land

When your vision is clear, life is simple. 

Each major decision gets framed in the question of, “Will this help us achieve our vision?”  If the answer is, “No”, then let it go and don’t do it. 

Great leadership is the ability to define the vision and then the discipline to stay the course. 

“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.”

~Ralph Lauren

Here are three practical ideas to help you define… and achieve… your vision: 

First, get clear on your own inner vision. 

  • What kind of person do you want to become? 
  • What “manifestly important” problem am I solving in the world? 
  • What is my purpose in life? Why am I personally here? 
  • If I knew I was dying in 12 months, what, above all else, would I be sure to achieve? 

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” ~ Steve Jobs

Second, define your company’s purpose.

Consider these questions: 

  • What is our profit target? 
  • What is our social impact objective? 
  • What influence will you have on the lives and character of our employees? 
  • What “manifestly important” problems do our products and services solve? 
  • What transformational journey does my company create for individuals? 
  • What position do we want to hold in our marketplace? 

For this last question, it is sometimes helpful to think in terms of the Boston Consulting Group’s Star Principle. 

For an incredible deep dive into this principle, I suggest reading The Star Principle, by my good friend and billionaire investor, Richard Koch. Richard was part of BCG in the early days and has used the Star Principle to build one of the most profitable business portfolios in the world. 

Third, create reminders of your vision. 

Every agenda of every meeting at every level of your company needs to have a simple statement of your vision. 

Infuse it into the hearts and minds of every employee. Help them see, know and understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. 

Help them see how the company’s vision harmonizes with their personal vision and how working with you and your company helps them be fulfilled in life. 

Inspire your leadership to make every decision based on achieving that vision. 

Finally, create simple, clear, minimal key performance indicators to track your progress and have inspiring rewards to celebrate achievements. 

You can achieve much greater success than you have now. You can change the world. You can become everything you imagined you could be. 

And it all starts with a clear vision. 

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” — Henry David Thoreau