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How Develop a Company Vision? Part 2: Envisioned Future

A good vision combines two essential elements: core ideology and envisioned future. In the last post, we discussed core ideology as the first main component of a good vision.

Let’s take a look at the envisioned future.

Envisioned Future

An envisioned future, according to Collins and Porras, is the way through which core ideology is turned into a tangible goal that challenges your business.

An envisioned future consists of two parts:

  • Vision-level BHAG. A 10-to-30-year audacious goal.
  • Vivid descriptions of what it will be like to achieve the goal.

Vision-level BHAG

Collins and Porras found that visionary businesses often use audacious missions, which they refer to as BHAGs (pronounced BEE-hags and abbreviation for Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals).

A BHAG :

  • It is clear and appealing serves as a unifying focal point of work, and functions as a motivator for team spirit.
  • It provides a clear finish line, so the organization knows when it has met the goal.
  • People want to go toward the finish lines.
  • It engages people – it reaches out and grabs them.
  • It is real, energetic, and laser-focused.
  • People get it right away.
  • It requires little or no explanation.

Creating such a goal, in fact, challenges an executive team to be visionary rather than merely strategic or tactical. A BHAG should not be a sure bet – it may only have a 50 percent to 70 percent chance of success – but the company must think that it can achieve the goal anyway.

Vivid Description

Vivid Description is an engaging and specific description of what it will be like to achieve the BHAG.
A vivid description, according to Collins and Porras, is necessary for making a BHAG tangible. They say it’s like creating a picture with your words. Painting pictures is important for making the 10- to 30-year BHAG tangible in people’s minds.


Creating alignment may be the most important thing you do. However, the first step is always to recast your vision or mission into an appropriate framework for creating a visionary company. If done correctly, you should not have to do it again for at least a decade.

“The key point is that visionary companies display a remarkable resiliency to bounce back from adversity and shine over the long term.”

James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Here are related researches:


Thanks for reading! Please drop me a comment if you have any questions or additions!

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A Better Workplace

How Develop a Company Vision? Part 1: Core Ideology

Core values and a Core Purpose remain fixed in companies while their business strategies and practices constantly adapt to a changing market.

We need to understand there’s a difference between what should never change in a company and what should be subject to change. The ability to manage change is linked to the ability to develop a vision.

A good vision is the combination of two essential components: core ideology and envisioned future.

(See “Articulating a Vision.”) The use of this design is explained by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras in the Harvard Business Review.

“Articulating a Vision.”

Core ideology, the yin in the scheme, defines what we stand for and why we exist. Yin is unchanging and complements yang, the envisioned future.

The envisioned future is what we aspire to become, to achieve, to create – something that will require significant change and progress to attain.

James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

In this post, we talk about core ideology.

Core Ideology

For Collins and Porras, the core ideology is the most lasting and significant contribution of those who build visionary companies.

Leaders die, products become obsolete, markets change, new technologies emerge, and management fads come and go, but the core ideology in a great company endures as a source of guidance and inspiration.

the core ideology of the organization consists of two distinct parts:

  • Core Values, a system of guiding principles and tenets;
  • Core Purpose, the organization’s most fundamental reason for existence.

Core Values

Core values are a small set of timeless guiding principles. Core values are not from market requirements but the founder’s inner beliefs.

Throughout their research, Collins and Porras found that “companies tend to have only a few core values, usually between three and five”. From their perspective, ‘core’ means that a value is “so fundamental and deeply held that [it] will change seldom, if ever.”

Ralph S. Larsen, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, puts it this way: “The core values embodied in our credo might be a competitive advantage, but that is not why we have them. We have them because they define for us what we stand for, and we would hold them even if they became a competitive disadvantage in certain situations.”

There is no such thing as a right set of core values. A company’s core value doesn’t have to be customer service (Sony doesn’t) or respect for the individual (Disney doesn’t) or quality (Wal-Mart Stores doesn’t) or market focus (HP doesn’t) or teamwork (Nordstrom doesn’t).

After you’ve established a preliminary list of core values, ask yourself, “Would we still hold this core value if the circumstances changed?” If you can’t honestly answer yes, the value isn’t core and should be eliminated from consideration.

Core Purpose

The Core Purpose is the reason for the organization’s existence. An effective purpose represents people’s idealistic reasons for doing the company’s work. It captures the essence of the organization rather than merely describing its output or target market.

For Collins and Porras, the core purpose is the “most fundamental reason for being”. A true purpose grabs “the ‘soul’ of each organizational member” and reflects their “idealistic motivations for doing the work.”

To put it another way, why are we here?

Purpose (which should last at least 100 years) should not be confused with specific goals or business strategies (which should change many times in 100 years).

The five whys are an effective way of determining the purpose. Begin with the descriptive statement We produce X product, or We provide X services, followed by the question Why is that important? at least five times After a few whys, you’ll realize you’ve gotten to the organization’s core purpose.
The five whys can help companies in any industry frame their work in a more meaningful way.


It is a vision that provides the context. Companies more than ever need to have a clear understanding of their purpose in order to make work meaningful and thereby attract, motivate, and retain outstanding people.

Stick around for part 2. I will talk about the second primary component of the vision framework which is envisioned future.

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to like it and drop me a comment if you have any questions or additions!

Thank you for reading!

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A Better Workplace

Do you have a Strategy Statement that everyone on your team understands?

Have you ever worked for an organization and had no idea what its strategy was?

I was in this situation when I was working in the sales department of an international original equipment manufacturing company. I could see myself, other employees, and even managers becoming increasingly frustrated because the organization lacked a clear strategy. For example, our team worked for months on a project to attract a new customer, and then it was shut down. Why? Because it was conflicting with “the strategy”, and no one knew what exactly “the strategy” was.

What is a Strategy Statement?

Employees aren’t the only ones who don’t know the strategy; not even all executives can answer this simple question. And it’s no surprise that the firms for which those executives work are struggling in their industries.

Companies need a simple and clear statement of strategy that everyone can internalize and use as a guiding light for making difficult choices.

Here is an analogy that was presented in April 2008 by David J. Collis and Michael G. Rukstad Harvard Review titled, “Can You Say What Your Strategy Is?” :

Think of a major business as a mound of 10,000 iron filings, each one representing an employee. If you scoop up that many filings and drop them onto a piece of paper, they’ll be pointing in every direction. It will be a big mess: 10,000 smart people working hard and making what they think are the right decisions for the company – but with the net result of confusion.

If you pass a magnet over those filings, what happens?

They line up. Similarly, a well-understood statement of strategy aligns behavior within the business. It allows everyone in the organization to make individual choices that reinforce one another, rendering those 10,000 employees exponentially more effective.

David J. Collis and Michael G. Rukstad

What makes a good strategy statement?

To develop a strategy statement, we need to know all the elements of the strategy statement.

Elements of a Strategy Statement

There are three critical components of a good strategy statement, and they are:
Objective, Scope, and Advantage.
People should be able to articulate the objective, scope, and advantage of their business in a simple statement.

Any strategy statement must begin with a definition of the ends that the strategy is designed to achieve.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” is the appropriate maxim here.

Lewis Carroll

Defining the Objective

The definition of the objective should include both an endpoint and a time frame for reaching it. The strategic objective should be specific, measurable, and time-bound.

A mission statement or a statement of values is not the same as a strategic objective. Individual uniqueness and environmental sustainability are not strategic objectives. They control how employees should behave (“doing things right”); they do not guide what the company should do (“the right thing to do”). Check out “A Hierarchy of Company Statements.

Defining the Scope

It is critical to identify the scope of the business, or domain: the area of the landscape in which the organization will operate. Also, the scope of the business should state where it will not go.

Clearly defined boundaries in those areas should make it clear to managers which activities to focus on and, more importantly, which to avoid.

Defining the Advantage

The advantage is the most important part of a strategy statement. It shows what your company will do differently or better than competitors. An advantage is a value proposition that outlines why the targeted market should choose your product over all others.

Clarity regarding what differentiates the company is what most helps employees understand how they may contribute and have the most effective performance.


With a clear definition of a strategy statement:

Formulation becomes easier because executives know what they are trying to create.

Implementation becomes simpler because the strategy’s essence can be readily communicated and digested by everyone in the organization.

Employees from all parts of the company and at all levels of the hierarchy should be involved in the process of formulating the strategy and then drafting the statement that captures its core in an easily communicated manner.

Spending the effort to produce the few words that genuinely describe your strategy will energize and empower your team. It will eventually improve your organization’s long-term financial success.

What’s your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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The Wisdom of Crowds and Social Media

In one of my MBA classes, seminar in marketing issues, the topic was about biases and how we are often in error, and Professor James Sundali talked about The Wisdom of Crowds and gave us a few examples that I want to share with you.

First, let’s see what The Wisdom of Crowds is.

Jim Surowiecki begins his book The Wisdom of Crowds with a story from 1906. An unfortunate cow laid down its life for a place in mathematical history. The cow was the subject of a guess-the-weight competition and the lucky person who came closest would win the slaughtered animal’s meat.  The amazing part was that nobody guessed correctly, and yet everybody got it right.

At this competition, 787 people guessed the weight of a steer. Their average guess was 1,197 pounds. The actual weight of the steer is 1,198 pounds.

Amazing, right? It shows that crowds can make more accurate predictions most of the time.

In his TED talk, Lior Zoref recreates this experience by bringing an ox to the talk and asking his audience to use their smartphones to guess the animal’s weight and submit their weight estimations.

At the end of his talk, he got over 500 estimations, the lowest was 308 pounds the highest was more than 8,000 pounds. The average was 1792 pounds, and the actual weight of the ox was 1795 pounds. This is crowd wisdom in real-time.

In another case, Marcus du Sautoy, a British mathematician and Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford, used a jar of 4510 jellybeans and asked 160 individuals to guess how many jellybeans were in the container. Watch his video here.

He collected the guesses that were all over the place ranging from 400 right up to 50,000. Someone even guessed that the jar contains half a bean. However, when he summed all of the guesses and calculated the average, the average guess was 4,515. Identical to the actual number of 4510.  

As a result, when we take the guesses collectively, they become something else entirely.

What tends to happen is that more or less as many people will underestimate the number of jellybeans as overestimated a few people will be way off the mark either way but that doesn’t matter. If you poll enough people, the errors should cancel each other out.

The accuracy of the group is far greater than the individual and this is called the wisdom of the crowd.

It reminds me of the phrase that “two heads are better than one.”

Success does not have to be something you achieve on your own. Crowdsourcing allows you to enlist the help of many others.

Crowdsourcing is used by people from different sectors to find new ideas, data, and inspiration for projects. Businesspeople, artists, scientists, engineers, and others are all included.

We often hear that organizations use crowdsourcing. a few examples of companies that have been using various forms of crowdsourcing for the betterment of their business.

  • LEGO established the LEGO Ideas platform, where users can submit their ideas for new LEGO sets.
  • PepsiCo occasionally solicits input from consumers on varying products, such as the time they asked customers to share their favorite new potato chip flavor for the company’s Lay’s brand.
  • Amazon Studios has made a large place for itself in the world of TV and film production.

But, if this works so effectively for organizations, why can’t we live our life using crowd wisdom.

Kal Busman is a great example of using personal crowdsourcing.  He’s the lead pastor at Kings Cross Church in Tennessee. He’s using crowd wisdom to create his Sunday Sermons one week before his speech. he goes to his Facebook page and asks his friend what I should talk about.

This is how he creates the topic for next Sunday. Then during prayer, people use their smartphones to share their collective understanding in real-time. He told that ever since he started to do so church is full every Sunday.

In today’s digital age, our ability to communicate with many minds on a broad scale has made it easier to turn to large groups of people for their innovative new ideas. We can use social media for much more than just sharing pictures.

We all need to have a positive and healthy digital relationship with our audience. This is a new skill, as Lior Zoref says, and if we only ask questions, no one will want to answer. We need to add value, listen, be responsive, and let people know that we appreciate their opinions, just like we would in real life.

 and once you’re on board with crowdsourcing, the sky’s the limit.

Let me know what you think about Crowdsourcing in the comment section below. Thanks!

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Exercises for Creativity

For me, one of the benefits of being born in one country and living in another country is that I get to celebrate and begin the new year twice. One is January 1, and the other is Nowruz, the Persian new year,  which marks the beginning of the spring season and falls on or around the date of 21 March on the Gregorian calendar.

I’m not sure what happens on the first day of the year but it’s a nice time to reflect on the past and establish a goal for the future. Perhaps this is wrong, and we should not wait for a particular day to check in with ourselves or decide whether to add a new habit or subtract a habit. However, it seems like a fresh start.

Since I celebrated my second new year on March 20, I’ve been thinking about how to add something new to make my life more creative. It made me think of something I’d love to try or a habit I’d love to break for thirty-day.

I know it’s nothing new, and everyone sets a thirty-day challenge, especially at the beginning of the year. But this time, I was considering bringing the challenge into my job life too. as I mentioned in my previous post, the typical workplace life is characterized by a set of tasks that must be completed. It is easier to come up with the same ideas for a project that we used to do in order to ensure safe and secure results.

How about spicing up our minds and bringing some creativity into our daily work lives?

after thirty days, we should feel that we are enjoying this new activity as part of our routine.

Why try something new for 30 days?

Matt Cutts shares a few things he learned while doing these 30-day challenges.

  • Instead of the months flying by, forgotten, the time is much more memorable.
  • As you start to do more and harder 30-day challenges, your self-confidence will grow.
  • By doing small, sustainable changes, things are more likely to stick.
  • The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, so why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot!
  • You can do anything for 30 days.

Here are two of my creative exercises challenge for the next 30 days:

Mindless Doodling during the meetings rather than taking notes. Fortunately, most of my meetings are held online, so no one can see me.

 According to studies, doodling is a great practice for our minds to take in information creatively by engaging the four senses of reading, writing, visual, auditory, and tactile.

 If I don’t have a meeting in a day, I’ll watch a TED talk or a show and doodle on a sheet to keep my hands busy and my mind engaged.

Turn out the lights and write down my thoughts! It sounds crazy but the darkness helps our creative thinking by influencing our imaginations and allowing us to think in a new way.

What are some things you’ve always wanted to add to your life? Write them down in the commnet section below and try them for the next 30 days. 🙂

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Improve Your Global Understanding and Learn From Other Cultures

Being creative often involves seeing the world in a new way. We can learn about how people in other countries view the world. It does not mean that we all should travel abroad to gain new perspectives. We can see them in different parts of our society, or even within different communities, people with different religions, interests, or jobs.

I’d like to suggest that, just as in real life, we can open and revise our perspectives online. However, most of us probably end up connecting to people who are similar to us.

How to get out of our own little Internet zone?

One way is to look for bridge figures,” as explained by Zuckerman. By “bridge figure,” he means someone who functions as a cultural interpreter, exposing individuals who see the world in one way to those who see the world in another.

“bridge figures … people engaged in the larger process of cultural translation, brokering connections and building understanding between people from different nations.” 

-Ethan Zuckerman, Rewire, (2013)

We need to connect with new people who are not like us and tap into global knowledge networks. The important thing is to keep our eyes and ears open for all of the small but important differences that might show a lot about our own assumptions.

Learning from different cultures can benefit us all. It may also be drawing on your own personal background and family heritage, as in the case of Kayla Briët, a filmmaker and musician who grew up in California and creates work based on the stories of her Dutch Indonesian heritage.

Creating opportunities for a wider perspective allows us to notice when there is other more than one way to approach a specific case. In comparison to culturally homogeneous teams, diverse teams have the potential to be more creative.

Here are Greate talks about seeing world in different ways:

How you try to make the world wider through using the web? What bridges can you build? What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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BE OPEN to new ways of thinking – Age Diversity

The typical workplace life is generally characterized by a set of tasks that must be done. It is easier to come up with the same concepts for a project that we used to do that ensure safe and secure results.

However, by applying creative thinking to our daily work lives, we will create and unlock more meaningful results.

If your team is uninspired and sticking to the same old ideas and solutions, it’s time to encourage creativity.

One of the simplest ways to achieve this is to tap into people from different generations.

According to some studies, about 40% of employees today have a manager that is younger than them.

In the words of Chip Conley (watch his Ted Talk), Author and Founder of Modern Elder Academy, power in the workplace are shifting to the young. They are more skilled at using cutting-edge technologies and they are assumed to offer new perspectives and ideas.

Every one of us has something to learn. With greater age diversity than ever before, we have an incredible opportunity to welcome more people in to engage with one another and create value.  The major advantage of workplace age diversity is the opportunity for diverse ideas, viewpoints, skills, and experiences to be shared.

Only 8% of organizations, according to Conley, include age in their diversity statements. We have the resources; it’s simply a matter of putting them to use.

Companies benefit from age diversity, but only if there is a culture that encourages each generation to learn from the others. Age diversity promotes knowledge, experience, creativity, and ambition between generations. 

Allow each person to act as both an intern and a mentor simultaneously. It brings wise eyes together with fresh eyes. The combination of different skills offered by the different age groups is definitely an asset for your team.

What do you think? How does age affect your work performance? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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One simple way to encourage authenticity in the workplace

We all have preconceived stereotypes about what it means to be in a specific role. Be an artist, a mom, nurse, a musician, or a leader, and we often try to stay away from our authentic selves because we are afraid that we don’t fit the norm. However, the greatest results are always come from authenticity.

It’s easy in our careers to become defined by our job titles and the labels that others have given us. When we let labels define us, we unconsciously limit ourselves by trying to fitting into everyone else’s idea of our role. But, before anybody else can define who we are, we must define ourselves every day.

Many organizations encourage people to bring their authentic selves to work in order to foster proactivity and innovation. And anyway, a good company needs genuine individuals who are ready to point out problems and contribute necessary changes, not just team members who always agree with you.

True leaders don’t simply offer a model of authenticity for others; they also challenge themselves to show all aspects of their personalities. Leaders can then encourage others to be bold as well.

We need to keep in mind that leadership can show up anywhere and everywhere. We tend to think of leadership as something that happens in the workplace, but the reality is that true leaders show up at work, at home, in the supermarket, wherever they’re called for.  By uncovering who we are at home as well as in the workplace, we can push boundaries around what inclusion actually means.

One simple way to encourage authenticity in the workplace

One of the simplest ways to show employees that they are valued and wanted in your organization is by listening to them properly. Listening does not just mean making room for them to speak; it also requires listening to them with a desire to learn and uncover the greatest ideas possible.

If you tell your employees that you want them to bring their whole self to work rather than just copying you, you must guarantee that they are listened to and not ignored when they do so.

It is important to consider how you create the environment, how you listen, and how you show up so that people can find their voice. If your colleagues choose to stand out regardless of the circumstances, they should be allowed to be unapologetically themselves.

Leaders who learn to practice active listening show to their employees that they are open, will build trust, which is the most important aspect of leadership.

What Does It Mean to You to Bring Your Authentic Self to Work? leave your comment below. thanks!

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Why is being accountable so important?

Creating a culture of accountability is the key to developing a successful business. Accountability is an essential tool used by high-performing teams to establish stronger work relationships.

Successful teams can’t thrive without Accountability.

Accountability,  according to Cathelijne Janssen,  is “taking responsibility, acting responsible and feeling responsible about the results”. Simply put, it’s “doing the right things, and doing them right!

Accountability in teamwork refers to team members’ ability to remind one another when they are not meeting the group’s performance expectations.

Leaders may foster an environment in which people hold each other accountable and push to accomplish more.

Accountability may start with the leader, but it needs more than the leader’s participation.  To be successful, people need to hold one another accountable.

 Accountability Model: APPEAL

Cathelijne Janssen addresses the concept of the accountability model and how it contributes to professional and personal improvement.  

In her APPEAL accountability model, Janssen focuses on six particular aspects: Authenticity, Professionalism, Passion, Empathy, Acceptance, and Leadership. 

Authenticity is holding yourself to your value.

Professionalism and performing professionally lead to improvement of quality and efficiency.

Passion helps people who want to be accountable to have more effect.

Empathy is the ability to understand other people’s feelings and thoughts and use that understanding to guide your actions.

Acceptance of your mistakes is important. Your mistakes are ok as long as you learn from them.

Leadership means influencing behaviors, decision-making, communicating

Bret Simmons, Ph.D. explains accountability beautifully in this short video.

According to Bret Simmons, the two primary principles of real accountability are that it always starts with you and that it always seeks productive solutions rather than blame when challenges occur at work.

You can be an effective leader and  build a healthy productive relationship by doing the following :

Start accountability with yourself.

Be clear in your expectations of others.

Hold others accountable for meeting those expectations.

Make sure that you understand the expectations that others have of you.

Expect others to hold you accountable.

Help your teams to  keep their commitments.

If you want your team to be more productive, you should invest in team and individual accountability. By demanding greater accountability you’ll end up creating greater outcomes and making a bigger difference.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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How Adaptable Are You?

Technology has changed our workplaces. Businesses are built on a “move fast and break things” approach rather than a traditional, long-form approach.

There is no time to waste on following specific rules. We have to break out of certain habits. So, how you respond as a leader to unanticipated changes in the market is important.

Here comes one important trait, Adaptability. How well a person reacts to the change is an important skill. Adaptability is a form of intelligence, and adaptability quotient, or AQ, can be measured and improved.

As you become a more adaptable leader, you will be able to build a more adaptable team.

What is the adaptability quotient (AQ)?

According to Advantage, from a business standpoint, AQ is “the ability to adjust course, product, service, and strategy in response to unanticipated changes in the market.” 

It has become increasingly important for a business to be able to easily adapt and rebuild its business model as its customers’ needs change with the market.

Failure to adapt to change will distinguish the winners from the losers.

On a personal level, AQ is a skill that refers to a person’s ability to adjust their behaviors and actions in response to a new situation.  Being adaptable is being able or willing to change in response to changing circumstances.

Natalie Fratto is an investor, writer, and educator who believes in the value of adaptability. She is an angel investor who is looking for signs of one certain quality. It’s the ability to adapt.

How do we assess our adaptability?

Natalie’s three strategies for assessing adaptability in founders were particularly interesting  to me:

Ask  ‘What if …?’ questions instead of asking about the past. ‘What if …?’ force the brain to stimulate.

Challenge what you presume to already know.

look for people who infuse exploration into their life and their business. 

Adaptability is essential for success in a constantly changing digital world.

As individuals, communities, businesses, and even governments, we are being challenged to deal with more change than at any other time in human history.

Each of us can become more adaptable by asking “what if” questions, actively unlearning, and prioritizing exploration over exploitation can put you in the driver’s seat.

 So, you are ready the next time something big changes.

Tell me about a time you had to do something you had never done before. How did you approach this situation, and what did you learn?