What is your place in the future?
There are two ways to plan ahead: from today and from the future.
Planning from today
Where we are now? Is it possible to make 10% more in the next year? Could we stretch our goals? Planning from today operates with the current state, looking for the ways to fix, adjust, improve in order to achieve more.
Planning from the future
Planning from the future starts with a dream. Where do we see ourselves if everything is possible? What would be our perfect destination? Once defined, the backtracking process helps to connect desired vision with the actions needed to be taken today to achieve it.
Wait… Vision? Have I just said vision?
Four knights of planning apocalypse
You know them by name. Those are mission, vision, purpose, and values. Rarely you can see such a level of disagreement as in discussions around one of those terms. I’ve said we need a vision, so the fight is inevitable. Let’s defeat the evil of misunderstanding together once and forever.
Vision describes our belief in a specific alternation of the future and our role in it. It’s about what (what we would like to achieve) and where (where we want to be).
Mission answers why. Why are we doing all this?
Purpose goes hand in hand with a mission. The difference is that it’s not about you. No, not about me neither. The purpose is what your work means for others. What impact do you expect to make on the world?
Values are your how, your does and don’t.
So, you are fulfilling your mission, bringing your vision closer, sticking to your values, in order to realize your purpose. But how does all this look in practice?
I’m on a mission: mission and vision statements of future-proof companies
More hours on the Internet, tens of suspicious pages with fake info, and the answer is there. Not sure you will like it… please, just continue reading. This is your Uber driver. I will be waiting for you outside of this paragraph.
Ta-dam! Official quotes are copied straight from official websites.
Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more
Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the global transition to sustainable energy
Nike exists to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.
*If you have a body, you are an athlete
Want more? Here go some words of a different kind.
Our Purpose is to move the world forward through the power of sport – breaking barriers and building community to change the game for all
Doing the best
Are you still missing something? Yeap. Because it’s not there! Missions, values, even purpose — they are all over the place. Not a single corporate website I’ve checked has a mention of the vision. Microsoft was the closest with the title of their “About” page being “Mission and Vision”. Mission — checked, vision — no trace of the suspect.
What does it mean? How such great companies could survive without vision? What if their vision is that precious they are not ready to share it with the world? Or… I’m definitely not asking this… but…. what if…
Do companies need vision at all? Spoiler alert: Yes, but…
In fact, they do. But not exactly the way most of us think about it. First of all, yes, Microsoft has a vision. You can google even several ones.
Microsoft Vision 2017
We believe a new technology paradigm is emerging that manifests itself through an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge where computing is more distributed, AI drives insights and acts on the user’s behalf, and user experiences span devices with a user’s available data and information
Microsoft Vision 2021
As a physical and digital world come together, we are creating entirely new platform layer, which is the metaverse. We are brining people, places and things together with the digital world in both the comsumer space and the enterprise
Here comes the answer. Vision defines current beliefs. They are changing over time because the future and our understanding of it are changing. It’s impossible to move forward without any idea of where you are heading. You’ll have to get both a draft of the map and the destination. Yes, the vision is needed, but it’s not set in stone.
There are two ways to approach it.
Role to play
We see the future as ____, and our role there is ____.
Bad example: In the future people will confirm their identities with their DNA, and our company will be the biggest DNA bank on the planet.
Shape the World
We see the future as ____, and our role is to make sure the future will be ____.
Even worth example: We see the world is drowning in waste coming from packaging, and we will work hard to prevent it, so in the future, everyone will be eating their packaging after purchase.
Yes, you have to work on your mission and vision. I believe this was clear from the very beginning. The biggest revelation here is different. The real reason why vision is not a part of corporate websites is that mission and vision are different on the fundamental level.