Recipe for an inspiring vision

Sailing ship crowded with people

If you want to create something new in the world, your first task is to inspire people to want to make it happen. The more you can inspire your customers, investors, and employees, the more they will be motivated to join your project, stick with it, and deliver enthusiastic results.

The way you achieve this is by delivering an inspiring vision.

Every vision, and every visionary leader, is different. But every vision is built from the same basic building blocks.

The posts that follow will describe these blocks in more detail. This post lists them all.

The first priority for any vision is to inspire change. This means the first three building blocks must describe the three steps that research has shown are essential for achieving successful strategic change:

  • a clear definition of the problem
  • a clear definition of the future you want to create, and
  • clearly defined first steps to get there — not the entire journey, just the first steps

These blocks will become more powerful if you communicate them in a way that is meaningful for your audience. Creating that meaning is the fourth building block.

The fifth block is to explain why your vision is important, in terms of the underlying principles, values, or ideals that lie behind it.

The sixth block is to get people to decide whether or not they support your project: are they on the bus or off?

Finally, you will achieve all this best when you talk in your own authentic voice. Doing so is the seventh and most important building block of any inspiring vision.

The seven building blocks (or ingredients) for creating an inspiring vision are:

  1. A clear definition of the problem
  2. A clear definition of the future you want to create
  3. Clear first steps
  4. Delivered authentically by you
  5. In language that is meaningful for your audience
  6. Together with the higher principles or values that your vision supports and upholds
  7. In a way that gets your audience to decide: will they support you or not?

As with all recipes, the way that you combine these ingredients and the amounts of each you use is up to you. But like your mother’s cooking and the recipe for gunpowder, combined in the right order and proportions they can become a whole that is more powerful than its constituent parts.

As the pilot and poet Antoine de Saint Exupéry said:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

Do you have a way of describing what you are working on that inspires you and other people to long to make it happen? Would you get better results if you did?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Bruno Girin via

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