I’ve written a lot about purpose on my blog, because I love it. Purpose is why we do what we do, and I think it is the missing ingredient in many businesses. Many businesses go to great lengths to produce statements that describe what they do, how they do it, where they do it, and their values as they pursue some nebulous future; however, very few have given any serious thought to why what they do matters. Mission statements are virtually worthless, but purpose lives in the hearts and minds of those that serve it, which makes purpose a powerful driver of behavior.
I met Jesse Lyn Stoner on Twitter, and when I found out she had co-authored a book with the great Ken Blanchard on vision, we had a frank discussion about how much she loved the concept of vision and how much I hated it. But to be honest, I’ve never in my life read a book on vision, so when Jesse offered to send me a free copy of her and Ken’s revised book “Full Steam Ahead: Unleash the Power of Vision in Your Work and Your Life,” I agreed to read and review it.
The book is written as a story with fictional characters. I know many people love that style of business writing, but frankly I do not. Even though I did not like the style, I LOVED the message Ken and Jesse share about vision:
Vision is knowing who you are, where you are going, and what will guide your journey. Knowing who you are means being clear about your purpose. Where you are going is the picture of the future. And what will guide your journey is your values. (p. 79).
I was both surprised and thrilled that they made purpose the foundation of vision. That’s the way it should be, but as they point out in the book, many organizations still miss that critical point. The authors assert “The vision must benefit everyone it touches” (p. 167). That’s a very high and appropriate standard that is simply not possible to achieve void of purpose.
The book concludes with some very useful tools that will help you create, deploy, and evaluate your vision. I am very glad to recommend this book to anyone and everyone that is interested in vision at work.