How to Write a Vision Statement

Hi. My name’s Erica Olsen. Welcome to today’s whiteboard session on how
to write a vision statement. Vision statements are a critical component
to any great strategic plan and the reason why is because strategic plans are about creating
a different future. And that future is articulated in your vision
statement. It needs to be succinct and clear and understandable
but it needs to paint a picture for where you’re going and why. And that’s your critical word to remember,
is “where.” We often get mission and vision confused,
so the way that you keep them distinct is by making sure that your vision statement
articulates, “where?” Where are we going? What does success look like in the future? Let’s talk about the different types of vision
statements, a checklist to make sure yours is great, and then we’ll break down how it
comes together and wrap it up with a quick “how to do it for yourself.” So, there are three different types of vision
statements that come in three different flavors, really. The first is quantitative. So a revenue number, maybe, or maybe like
a number of things. In this case, “every kid,” that’s an expression
of a quantitative vision statement. Competitive is about sounding like beating
your competition or better than your competition. I don’t see these very often, so I wouldn’t
use that. The third one is superlative like “premier,”
“number one,” “the best,” also super common. Okay. Here’s your checklist. It’s a great checklist to make sure that your
vision statement truly is a vision statement. Let’s break it down. Vision statements are at least five years
in nature or longer. Five years is a really good guide in this
case, “by 2025.” Future tense, I talked about that already. Make sure we say, “where.” I love “we envision,” that’s super future-looking. And then, of course, we have the word “will”
in there as well. So, future tense verbs. It’s directional. Again, we’re not there today. “Reaching every kid,” starts to explain that. Audacious. Same deal, “every kid in our community,” that’s
big. Visions are about big. And descriptive. “Academically through high school and beyond,”
it starts to paint a picture. We expanded it by adding some more descriptors
here about how the world will look different. Remember, your vision statement is your north
star, and we want to be able to see that north star. So let’s create a clear picture. So let’s break this down a little bit further
so you can put yours together. “We envision.” I like to start vision statements like that
because it gets us in the right frame of mind. You might get rid of it later but it’s a good
place to start, the impact that we’re making in the world. What is different? Be clear that you spell that out. And then what the world looks like. You may not always include these in all your
vision statement prints, if you will, but it’s nice to really kind of describe it and
not be constrained by something super super tight and synthesized. The tip on these is I like to use these as
a starting place to develop strategic objectives. It’s a great way to tie everything together. So how do you create one? Well, you might already have an idea for your
vision, in which case get after it. Write it down. If you don’t, Google “cover story vision,”
awesome instructions on pulling your team together and getting the creative juices going. So my last tip is leaders, focus on the future. You can’t lead if you don’t have a vision,
so hopefully, this helps you put yours together. That’s all we have for today. Thanks for tuning in. Happy strategizing.

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