2018: The Power of Personal Vision on Performance

Dec 18th, 2017

“Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakes.”

Carl Jung


Are you and your team excited about 2018? The importance of Personal Vision in accelerating performance has taken centre stage in my work this year. Uncertainty has continued to characterise the business environment for many clients and, as a result, I have responded to a growing demand for corporate strategy reviews. What has made the difference in what can be challenging discussions has been aligning the corporate vision with the personal vision of individuals.


Many executive boards start with the corporate strategy and only later consider the personal impact on the management team members and their roles.  Alignment, explains Larry Myler in his Forbes article Strategy 101, needs to take place at all three phases of strategy – creation, communication and execution. Alignment success rates often drop by around 50 percent at the communication phase, largely because employees fail to truly connect. How, therefore, do you generate not only commitment but genuine excitement?


Earlier in the year, I ran a strategy session with a group of Equity Partners whose ambition was to grow their successful business internationally. As the morning went on, I became keenly aware of a tension – the more they talked about their strategic plan, the more it became clear to me that some of them were in a different place. Some were keen to drive growth, others with a view to exiting within the next five years.


Rather than pushing on and ignoring it, I paused the session. After discussion with the client, I ran a number of Vision Days for key partners to clarify their personal visions for the future. People often come to these days thinking they will work on what they want. What they actually identify is what they long for. When we came back together for the strategy review with the rest of the board, the power of those insights were the catalyst for an engaging, transparent and meaningful conversation between the partners, and the business strategy swiftly came together. As they said three weeks after the session, “We feel united, focused and excited again about the future we can create.”


How can you generate this level of excitement among your team? Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, talks about having the right people on the bus – both skills and engagement. Do your team members know what they long for? And how can you align and channel this motivation to the good of the business?


Another client had been offered a seat on the board of her company. But she felt at a life crossroads and wanted to be sure she was making the right decision. The Vision Day allowed her a much longed for ‘day to focus on what’s important, away from all the distractions of life’ – the time and space to evaluate her choices, including two further options that she had not even thought about. As a result of the day, she chose not to take up that specific board position but to propose to her CEO that she head up as Managing Director a new division that would let her do what she did brilliantly – launch a new business area and drive growth. As a result, the business is benefiting from her strong performance and she is highly motivated.


In both cases, the Vision Day helped individuals gain tremendous clarity about their aspirations in all aspects of their life; the opportunity to identify and evaluate choices, a pragmatic action plan to make it happen and a breakthrough and an acceleration in making their aspirations advance. We then were able to channel and align these insights into the corporate vision.  As one client described the Vision Day experience, “Aside from childbirth, it was the most powerful thing I have ever done, and I came away with a completely clear vision.”


To facilitate the alignment of these personal insights of team members into corporate strategy reviews, I introduced this year a new profiling tool that helps leadership teams examine roles in the context of their pivotal relationships in the business and also the growth stage of the business.  This generates meaningful conversations to get highly engaged people in the right roles at the right time. As one management team put it, the process ‘helped us reassess our roles within the business, ensure we play to our key strengths and more importantly, allow us to excel at the roles we enjoy most and delegate the tasks and responsibilities we are not motivated by.’  The result is a ‘bold vision and exciting plans for our future’. That is the power of alignment.


Vincent Van Gogh said, ‘For my part, I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream.’  If in 2018 you need to reignite a management team or help team members re-engage; if you need to regain your own mojo, have exciting but daunting choices to make at a career or life crossroads or want to know ‘what’s next’, start with clarifying what is longed for – and stand by the opportunity to make it happen.


Our Vision Days for January are fully booked, and we are currently taking bookings for February and March 2018.


For an exploratory conversation contact Oona at www.potentialplus-int.com


Oona Collins