Recipe for an inspiring vision

If you want to create something new in the world, your first task is to inspire people to want to make it happen. The better you achieve this, the more motivated people will be to join you, to stick with you through thick and thin, and to deliver enthusiastic results.

To build a ship, don’t set about gathering wood or drawing up project plans: instead, teach yourself and others “to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

The way that you achieve this is by building a inspiring vision. That vision will be formed from seven basic building blocks.

The first priority for any vision is to inspire strategic change, so the first building blocks describe three elements that research has shown are essential for achieving any successful strategic change:

  • a clear definition of the problem
  • 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

The power of these three building blocks depends on whether you communicate them in ways that are meaningful for your audience, both rationally and emotionally. Creating this meaning is the fourth building block.

The fifth block is to explain the underlying principles, values, or ideals that your vision supports and upholds: why it matters.

The sixth block is to call on people to make the practical and emotional choice to support your project: are they on the bus or off?

And finally, you will achieve all this best when you talk in your own authentic voice.

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 alternative 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
  7. in a way that inspires your audience to make a choice: are they on the bus?

As with all recipes, the way that you combine these ingredients and the amounts you use is up to you.

And as with all areas of life, what makes the difference between someone who can follow a recipe book and a great cook is practice.


Adapted from Inner Leadership.

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