About the Author: Vinit helps individuals and organizations discover and manifest their deeper calling in life.
During one of my visioning facilitation assignments with a successful print media company, I found most of the leadership team members talking about being the largest and the most admired media brand as their vision. I asked a simple question, “What would be the reason for aiming to be largest and most admired?”
As a part of seeking answers to this question, we had an extensive dialogue with the Entrepreneur CEO and went into the life history of the organization, beginning from the father who founded it, to the way the son was brought up and finally took over the mantle of the MD from the father.
As a part of this ‘excavation’, it came out that the father had sold a much coveted liquor license that he received in the 70s, without any monetary benefit and instead decided to start off a media company. He did this because he did not want to corrupt the blood of the citizens of our country and rather wanted to inspire them and bring about a change relevant to the society.
What emerged out of this discussion was what I call a Purposeful Vision©, “To be the largest and most admired media brand enabling socio economic change”. Suddenly, the quality of the aim changed significantly from being an ego drive of simply being big and vain to an eco-system drive of becoming so in order to be the influencer that can enable socio economic change.
Contrast this with my interaction with the Brand Director of a leading English media company. When my daughter was growing up, I used to be rather embarrassed by the content in our daily newspaper. I called up this gentleman to ask him as to why the newspaper insisted on publishing semi-clad women liberally. His answer was simple. This is what the reader wants and this helps keep our market share up. I had a long discussion about what reader wants vs. what the reader really needs but I could see that any social agenda was part of another silo called Philanthropic division whereas the role of the Brand Head was to make sure that market share was delivered. It is no surprise that this newspaper has since lost its share in some of the known cities.
My point is simple. Visions can be diverse ranging. Often, they may not be deployed in the right spirit but the starting point itself evokes a very different energy amongst the leaders and employees by the power of its intent and words. You can either make people happy (Walt Disney) or you can be a 125 billion dollar company by 2010 (Walmart in the 1990s) or you can kill Adidas (Nike, perhaps in the 90s but I could be wrong about the date). All of them inspired but they evoked very different energies.
I remember Sri Aurobindo’ssoul companion Mother saying, “The quality of your aim determines the quality of your life”.
We can either have a vision of being the best in the world or we can choose to have a Purposeful Vision© of being the best for the world. We will attract and inspire stakeholders accordingly. It is for the organizations to choose wisely and consciously.