I think I was especially struck by this as I had in the days before the seminar toured Washington, DC including the Lincoln Memorial, National Archives, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Evidence of the power of vision was evident all around.
I sometimes hear that mission/vision stuff is silly and not useful. I don’t buy it, and I don’t think you should either. So the next time you hear people mention that a vision statement is unimportant, have them read:
The Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The Gettysburg Address, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Martin Luther King Jr’s I Have a Dream Speech, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Powerful, clear visions allow for actionable goals, which focus the efforts of individuals and groups, allowing them to achieve more than they thought possible. Vision statements, done right, can be very powerful.
Does your vision statement inspire action?