It’s that time of year again - Ireland is finally starting to warm up for the summer. It’s hardly tropical, but just sunny enough to give a new lease of life to many people, and provoke a complete state of panic about how unfit they are.
Salad sales skyrocket, while most footpaths are swarmed with runners in a kind of New Year’s resolution part two. New faces appear in the gym which, until now, have dwelt in the safety of the couch or local pub.
The blurry and often ignored vision of bodily aspiration which exists in the minds of most has suddenly sharpened, with a temporary surge of enthusiasm for improvement. But the ones who stand out are unfortunately not those who pick and choose when they want to stay committed to their training. No, it’s the remarkably dedicated individuals who set a clear vision of where they want to be, and constantly drive themselves to achieve this.
Before I go any further, I have to admit that I am most definitely not in the latter category, and find it all too easy to justify ridiculous excuses to just slob out on cold winter nights. I personally have a vague idea of my ideal fitness level, and how I might get there, but as soon as something more appealing is put on the table, that idea is shoved right down deep where nobody will ever find it.
But the onset of the bright summer evenings has me thinking… Most of us have ambitions, but what is it that really differentiates those who actually realise theirs?
With no solid set of guiding principals, it’s far too easy to let motivation slip and sway from the right track. A clear vision of what is to be achieved, and what needs to be done to get there is quite often the missing factor. Like the marathon runner who sets the vision of sprinting over that finishing line in Dublin, London or New York – arms aloft, and puts in place a meticulous regime to be undertaken in the months, weeks and days leading up to the main event.
It’s the same in business. In order to meet its ambitions, a company needs to identify a vision of the future and, critically, the behaviours which enable this.
Organisations which do not make clear what they are trying to achieve, and what everybody in the business needs to do in order to achieve this, miss out on an invaluable opportunity.
A strong vision motivates, energises and creates a sense of purpose. Employees who know what they are working toward have a clear reason to focus their energy. Individuals can be working their hardest, but without the guidance of what needs to be done, their efforts are greatly inhibited.
With the economy gradually improving, an increasing number of companies are reviewing their visions, and assessing whether they are fit-for-purpose. A company vision from 10 years ago may be very different to what it needs to be today.
Some simple steps can help CEOs and management teams define their unique vision:
- Start by looking at what your company is already saying about itself, and its purpose.
- Ask stakeholders what they think the company stands for.
- Look to employees and define internal perceptions of organisational purpose.
- Work closely with all employees to develop a vision and set of guiding values.
- Embed the new culture internally, and use it to guide the business to its goals.
Whether it be personal or business fitness, setting out a clear vision is the first step on the right path to drastically increasing motivation and realising your highest potential.