A good vision is not a dead compromise but a living synthesis of past, present, and future.
A leader keeps a vision alive in the mind of his ‘disciples’ (such as a company credo). He motivates them to follow him in this vision. This is discipline. You notice the similarity in word use. Of course, people need to know who and what they’re following. A real, good, true vision is clear and simple because it goes hand in hand with the sincerity of the vision, namely: being clear and simple from within. Being honest and open.
A vision is not what you find at the entrance of the company.
A vision walks through the corridors of the company, clearly and simply, as a daily tangible presence of future, past, and present.
‘Being clear and simple from within oneself’ is also powerful and durable. In this way, the vision shows that it can stand the test of time. Those who are committed to this are committed to the present and a better future. Every effort has lasting value. This makes people partially ‘immortal.’ A leader embodies the channel towards this by his consistent attitude concerning the vision. Moreover, he ensures that people already experience the future purpose contained in the vision.
A good vision also takes the past into account. Not only to learn from the mistakes of the past, but above all to bring the past into the present – as we did with the future. This is ‘what people have always wanted.’ This is what our parents and ancestors worked for or even fought for. Today and tomorrow are also their future. This makes their minds alive in what we are doing now. One can think of this as a kind of contemporary ‘worship of the ancestors.’ They did not have the modern insights and technology that we have now. Maybe they had more wisdom that might make sense to us, too. A good vision respects this wisdom. In this regard, the collective memory of humanity has always failed. At this day and age, where the emphasis is on factual information (different from wisdom), perhaps more than ever. That’s what visions and leaders are here for.
A vision is a sound synthesis of future, past, and present. Thinking synthetically is by far the domain of a leader. Vision shows the new direction, which is not ‘new’ in the sense of a new newspaper every day, but in the sense of being close-to-the-source. It is a way to return to the source, the ‘origo,’ in specific circumstances, with specific options and challenges. A vision is original. The source is a source of humanity and ‘energy’ (deep motivation). A good vision taps from this keg and is therefore inexhaustible.
A strong vision is a vision in which Silence is present.
It is indeed about Silence with a capital S. Namely the one in which people are heard in their totality: surface and depth. It is the same Silence from which the vision originated. The Silence that remains audible behind the noise of a worldly company and all the worries to realize the vision. A strong vision can be heard behind words. It’s a dream in reality. The material of a dream cannot be found in a bank account. It’s the deep meaning: the only thing that really motivates. The end result can indeed be found in a bank account.
Now let us return from future, past, and present to two words with which this text began: ‘simple and clear.’ Then it is a powerful tool, like a firm slogan. Although, in slogan-like language, this is sometimes being abused.
A good slogan is an entry gate.
It invites people to step outside the limited ‘I,’ to become a leader, free-for-all. This is not about a division of leadership. A good vision is simple and clear and, at the same time, wide and open like the vastness of an ocean. We can use it in the business world and in politics. We can use it in our small country and also in the larger Europe. And soon we may also need it very much in this one big ever-developing world.