Recipe for an inspiring vision

Sailing ship crowded with people

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.”

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

You achieve this by delivering an inspiring vision.

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

The first priority for any vision is to inspire change. Research has shown that the three elements essential for achieving successful strategic change are:

  • 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 are the first three building blocks of your vision.

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 matters: the underlying principles, values, or ideals that make it important.

The sixth block is to get people to make a choice: do they support your project or not? Are they on the bus or off?

And, finally, you will achieve all of 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 ingredients, in different amounts, make up every inspiring vision.

As with all recipes, the way that you combine them 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.

Can you describe what you are working on in a way 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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