vision statement

How your vision statement can lead to powerful results

Imagine the following two situations and see which one excites you more.

  1. Imagine you have a job interview the next morning and you really want the job. That morning you wake up late and you realise that the only way you will reach on time is to risk getting a ticket while speeding.
  2. Imagine that in the near future, Earth is coming to an end. There is scarcity in food and extreme changes in climate. However, a mysterious rip in the space-time continuum is discovered, giving mankind the opportunity to widen its lifespan.

    You must travel together with a group of explorers beyond our solar system in search of a planet that can sustain life. You are required to think bigger and go further than any human in history as you embark on an interstellar voyage into the unknown.

    This means that you must decide between seeing your family again and the future of the human race.

Chances are you find the second scenario more exciting and/or scary. This makes sense, since a bigger problem is presented there. Can you imagine how many people would support you with your mission to save mankind?

In contrast, how many people would support you speeding on the road in order to arrive on time at your job interview?

If you’re still not convinced that the second problem is more exciting and challenging. Ask yourself, to which movie would you go and see if they would make a movie of these challenging problems.

By the way, the second challenging problem comes from the movie Interstellar. Their score of 8.8 on IMDB currently is most likely related to the problem that is presented in the movie.

The benefits your business gets from a challenging vision statement

What is interesting here, are the feelings that arise when a problem like this is presented and we see others trying to solve it.

The effects on people that arise when you apply this to your business are:

  • People will feel excited when they think about your vision statement
  • People will want to buy from you
  • People will feel good to buy from you
  • People will want to do business with you
  • People will start wanting to follow you
  • People will feel motivated to follow you
  • People will feel inspired by you
  • People will want you to succeed
  • People will want to support you. Support can come in many ways, such as a Like, a Tweet, or with money.
  • People will want to work with you
  • Employees will feel energized and challenged to overcome the challenging problem

As you can see. There are lots of good reasons why your business should aim to solve bigger problems!

Degree of Challenges

Problems come in different forms and levels. A model called the “Conflictbarometer” illustrates the degrees and the corresponding challenges. T. Hendriks (2012) defined 5 distinctive degrees of challenges. The model is discussed in Chapter 4, in the context of leadership stories. The 5 distinctive degrees of challenges are :

  1. At the lowest degree, there is no challenge at all. Everything goes as planned.
  2. At the second degree, challenges ar small but still defeatable.
  3. At the third degree, challenges seem to present themselves as an unsolvable dilemma.
  4. At the fourth degree, challenges are a mountain of unconquerable obstacles.
  5. At fifth and highest degree, the challenge is at the end of the world level.

As you can see, there are different degrees of problems. In your business, aim to solve challenges that are on the higher side of the continuum, since these tend to be more rewarding. The degree of problems your company is trying to solve is reflected in your vision statement.

How to show your efforts towards solving the most challenging problems

The best way to show that your business is trying to solve the worlds most challenging problems is by setting a challenging vision statement. The vision’s desired outcomes of your business should be challenging. Additionally, the vision statement of your business is one that generally stays for a long time.

The most effective vision statement highlights a business’ commitment to product, process, and market innovations. A meaningful vision has several characteristics, such as

  • its sensible in employees’ eyes
  • is easily understood
  • suggests a higher calling and
  • creates a cultural glue that connects people together in ways that help them share knowledge in competitively relevant ways.

Once the vision statement is set, start working on your employees. Coach your employees to meet the challenges of organizational life, strengthen them by their own determination, and relentless pursuit of success and opportunity, and support their attempts to achieve more than they thought possible as they try to help the business reach its vision.

Keep in mind, your vision statement does not have to be something that you can attain in one year, or even in 10 year. Google’s vision statement is to organize all of the data in the world and make it accessible for everyone in a useful way. Guess how long they are trying to solve that.

A challenging vision statement in action: How Steve Jobs convinced the president of Pepsi quit his job and run Apple

In 1983 John Scully was convinced by Steve Jobs to quit his job at Pepsi and come work at Apple. How did Steve Jobs influence John Scully, president of Pepsi, to come work at Apple?

Well, by delivering a legendary pitch that blew Scully away. However, Scully was not impressed at first. However, he changed his mind when Steve Jobs said:

“Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

This illustrates how Steve Jobs played with the aspirations of John Scully. He persuade him with the vision of Apple and how it was going change the world, and that Pepsi on the other hand was just selling sugared water.


Setting a challenging vision statement positions your business positively and strongly in the mind of your customers. Together with the reasons mentioned above, a challenging vision statement will empower your business to reach the next level.

However, by setting a challenging vision statement alone does not get you far. For that, you need massive action. United with a challenging vision statement, your actions are given a sense of direction and purpose.

Once your destination on the map (vision statement) is set, share it with others. Show others what your destination is, what your drive is, and ultimately what your vision statement is.

Question: Were you able to convince Scully if you would tell him the vision of your business?

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