While I am incredibly grateful for the education I received at the Carroll Graduate School of Management at Boston College, I must admit that there was one area of function that I was not adequately prepared for as I moved on from school to the “real world” of owning and managing small businesses. I was immersed in the well established sciences of finance, accounting, economics, statistics, marketing, information technology, tax, ethics, management and organizational development, but there was little, if any, focus on the matter of vision.
As it turns out, this ability has proven to be the most important capability a true leader can possess. I absolutely agree that every manager or leader should possess a balanced understanding of the areas of business knowledge described above, but these are really the “hows” of the organization, the means by which the “why” – the core purpose of the organization – is translated day by day into the “what” of the organization, that is, its products.
So what is the “why” of the organization? You’ve likely noticed that many companies work to develop mission statements and concise lists of core values. While these certainly point in the direction of the “why,” they are naught but refracted versions or shades of the original and central “why.” Companies rarely articulate the “why” because those responsible for charting its course are not typically aware of the importance of (1) articulating it and (2) displaying it in plain sight of staff, investors, customers and competitors.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the “why” that sits in the center of the various businesses I own and manage and I’ve come up with a simple yet complete definition of the core of my vision for each and every one of them:
I believe in a healthy world.
This is my “why” for everything I do. I truly believe in the possibility of a world free of disease and conflict. We are, admittedly, a long way from that goal, but I have a vision and I am taking steps to implement that vision through every decision made in my organizations. There are obstacles to overcome – commonly held beliefs, years of evidence to the contrary conditioning human consciousness, innumerable competing interests, etc. – but I know that each time we successfully meet these obstacles in miniature in the small business setting, we give incontrovertible evidence that it can be done to the doubting aspects of our own consciousness as well as to the naysayers beyond.
So what does this mean to you? Vision is just as important to the individual as it is to the corporation. Why do you do what you do? What is the central “why” to which you have dedicated your life? If you haven’t defined it yet, you’re probably bouncing around from “why” to “why” – consciously or unconsciously – and you may even find yourself on occasion operating on two or more contradictory “whys” at the same time.
This is the source of the unrelieved tension in the consciousness of man. This is the source of the checkered progress of mankind through the ages. This is the central reason why you have not lived up to the high standard that you can in every aspect of your life.
Take the time to let your “why” form in your consciousness – the “why” that is unique to you – and you will be well on your way to a productive, fulfilling life.
Where there is vision, the people flourish.
8 thoughts on “A Healthy World”
I love the simple, yet all encompassing nature of the Vision we now share.
Repeatedly I sought to personalize, but you said it first and best,
Thank-you, I believe in a healthy world, also.
Thanks again Gregg. Your words stir and settle my soul as I open to first things first.
Great way to put it, stir and settle!
Stir’s the elements that aren’t aligned with purpose,
Settle’s the things to which we should hold fast.
I agree, thanks Dr. Steve!
Beautifully expressed. The clarity of your vision is an inspiration to take the time to identify mine. I’ve always felt a central pull in my life was to care for my fellows. I love helping, I enjoy people and I especially love being involved in a cohesive effort to create a better something. This can all sound vague but it isn’t to me. I believe we’re created to add value to every area of living we’re engaged in and my life was particularly created to foster that spirit and practically do it. I may not always take the lead but in this aspect I always have the responsibility. Thanks for the encouragement.
Sounds like you are well on your way to indentifying your vision. Thanks for your words they are sentiments I am sure many of us feel. Yes it is heartening to know that our lives are meant for something.
Sounds like your organization has a great opportunity to make a difference!
This is why I love and appreciate working with you. A healthy world is possible.
The vision is the absolute most important part of any type of movement or progress one can make. Think of it this way. Moving without vision is like a sailing ship with bad discipline and no idea of a destination. Not only is it pointless to go into the ocean without a destination, but it is dangerous without discipline. If you have a storm and no one wants to trim or reef the sails, you are probably going to die. You are safer for never setting off. That is not really an option in life, as we are all already figuratively in the open ocean. This means we need to get our individual acts together onto the right tack and figure out where we want to be headed. That is the same thing as defining our vision.