Ep #15: Vision

 In Podcast

What’s your vision for your business? Do you have to look it up – or is it short and sweet and fits on a bumper sticker? Here are some tips for what your vision statement should look like and how to create one.

What you’ll find in this episode:

  1. How I came up with my vision “sentence” – “She changed the way that people think.”
  2. Examples of some great vision statements.
  3. For your vision statement, make sure: you really understand it, you can translate it into business results, it’s well communicated, it can fit on a bumper sticker.
  4. Lastly – live the vision!

Featured on the Show and Other Notes:


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Podcast Transcript

Hey, everyone. I’m Kris Plachy and this is How to Lead for Female Entrepreneurs and Founders, because the best way to grow a business is to grow the person who’s running it. Let’s go ahead and get started.

Hello, gorgeous. How are you? Welcome, welcome to this episode where we’re going to be talking about vision and why it’s so important to have one. And also how to really document and formalize your vision so that it’s transparent to both to you and to your employees and to your clients and customers. And how it becomes such a center to everything that you do in terms of the services that you provide, the products that you offer, and the way that you operate as a business in the world.

I’m recording this podcast super early in the morning. I don’t even think the sun has quite crested over the horizon. It’s a gorgeous summer morning. The birds are chirping and I’m up really early. My husband had to go on a business trip today. And I don’t know about you guys, but when he’s up crazy early, it’s very, just kind of messes everything up.

And so I woke up and I was laying in bed and I was trying to make myself go back to sleep. And also, for any of you who are listening who are roughly females between the ages of maybe 42 and 55, you also can appreciate how sleep just doesn’t come easy these days. Anyway, I was laying there and I was thinking about you and all of my clients and vision. And I was thinking about my own vision. And I was really just pontificating.

I recently did a video series with Brooke Castillo, which will be coming out here in the next few months called Entrepreneurial Management, which I’m super excited about. We talked a lot about vision. Brooke has done an incredible job at getting her vision clear. I almost, I shouldn’t even say getting. Her vision has always been very clear. And so what she’s done is she’s been able to really communicate it well and concisely. And it just is such a center to the way that she runs her business.

So I was thinking about myself and I was thinking about my other clients. I have another client who’s going to be working on her vision and making sure it’s what she wants and it’s really, really dialed. So it’s just heavy on my mind. So as I was laying there thinking, I was chewing on my own business and why I do what I do. And when did that even happen? When did that vision spark for me?

And I have very vivid memories of when I was a young, much younger woman. And it’s sort of a silly, I don’t know, maybe it’s not silly, but I remember being … My first job job, I worked with a bunch of women who were all very, a lot older than I, probably at least 20 years older than me. And as a result, they were all very successful, and I was this new kid, rookie. And I listened to them a lot. And there were a lot of things that they would say, I was 23, 24 years old, that I’d never heard before, right? Because I had my family and I went to college and then I came and met with all these women. And I just had these conversations that made my brain go, “What?” Right? And that was the beginning of me realizing like, “Oh, we can think differently.”

Even though I’d been at college, right? And there were a few moments in college where I was challenged, but these women really, really pushed me. And of course I had this big job and I failed miserably in my first six months. And so I really had to explore myself and figure out who I wanted to be. And then I got promoted and I got a manager job. And I was nominated to participate in a leadership program that was part of the city that I lived in, in Pleasanton, California.

And so I was part of this Leadership Pleasanton program. And as a part of that program, the group that I was in, we did a retreat. And we did a DISC profile, which I’m sure many of you are familiar with, right? And from my perspective, DISC is kind of that entry point to awareness. It’s pretty basic, but it’s really good for people if you’ve never done any other kind of assessment, right? So DISC is a personality assessment.

And I again had one of those moments where we were all in the room and you kind of are designated as a D or an I or an S or a C. And then they put you into groups based on your profile and you do all these exercises. And I remember having this moment of like, “Wow. First of all, the way that I am is not weird. There’s other people who think like me. And second of all, there’s other people who don’t think like me.” And I just had, again, sort of that epiphanous moment like, “Oh, this is so interesting.”
And I think at that moment I started to get hooked because then I started studying the DISC and started learning more and more. And then I got certified in doing Myers-Briggs, which is another personality assessment. Because I was so intrigued by the way that we could challenge our brains to think. And then I got a training job. And I was turned on to a program called the Ownership Spirit by Dennis Deaton.

And if you’re not familiar with it, it’s so good. I haven’t looked at it at all in, gosh probably now almost 20 years. But it was, again, one of those experiences where I was like, “Wait a minute.” Ownership Spirit. The whole thing is about that you can choose the way that you think. And he explained the psychology of it. He explained the neurotransmitter of it. Like all the science behind it.

And I just remember being just gobsmacked. And then realizing I need to be an advocate, I need to help other people do this. And so I took Ownership Spirit. And then I read The Oz Principle, which also had concepts that are similar. And as a training manager, I just started integrating all of this.

Then I went to Brooke Castillo’s one day workshop in 2005 and she taught me the thought model and the concept of limited beliefs. And that was it. Then I took everything she taught me and I turned that into a whole program for my management team that reported to me. Which became then a whole thing for the whole region. And then it became a whole corporate initiative that I was the head of.

And so all this is to say that where was the seed of vision, right? And for me it was in realizing that the way that you think is a choice. And that when we really, truly, viscerally understand that, we can change everything about our business, about our lives, about our relationships, about our bodies. It’s all of it. And so for the longest time I would … People would say, well … I mean everything I did was an exercise by Dan Pink called What’s Your Sentence?

Which is an awesome exercise. If you want to do that one, it’s on YouTube. Just google Dan Pink what’s your sentence? And it’s the exercise of really getting your kind of life purpose into a sentence, which is really what we’re talking about when we talk about vision. And I remember at the time what I wrote and what I still really have in the back of my mind all the time is, “She changed the way that people think.” And I really feel like if I can help you think differently in 10 minutes or less, I’ve done my job on the planet.

Because if you can see that you’re capable of thinking differently, then you can see that there’s another road. And that’s what was always so overwhelming to me. Is that you think you’re on a road, you think that this is the only way forward. This is the only thing I can do because this is how my parents were, or this is the kind of company I work in, or this is what’s happening in the economy, or this is the kind of body I have, or whatever.

You think that’s the only road. And then if you let your brain open up to another possibility of another way of thinking, it’s like all these other roads show up. All of these other potential paths. There isn’t just one. Right? And so now my work with founders and female entrepreneurs is the same. Because what I know happens to you is you build this business, it’s doing well, but you’re overwhelmed and you only think there’s only certain ways either out or up.

And what I know, there’s lots of options. But we first have to crack open the mind, right? So my vision, right, now for my business is I teach female leaders how to lead. And I know that leadership starts in the mind. It isn’t a tactic. So for me, my vision statement is really, really clear and it helps me go forward. So let’s talk about your vision statement.

So I gave you a lot of background there because I want you to do that kind of thinking. You have a business for a reason. What is it? Why did you decide to do what you do, right? I, for me, there was no other way forward than coaching. Like as soon as I found this and I started to coach people and I started to see the impact of people … I actually have a client who just posted on her Instagram the other day the first time she ever watched me coach. And it was a male manager in a workshop and this guy started crying, right? Because it was such a powerful conversation. And she said that was, that was the day she realized. Right? That she wanted to be a coach.

And I just, there was never going to be another way for me to do the work in the world. It was just who was I going to work with? How was I going to make this into a business? So what is your reason for, why do you have this business? What was the seed? What was that sort of birth moment for your vision? Do you remember?
And here’s what I think is important. It may not be the kind of business you have, but it could be that you wanted a business could be the vision, okay? Because a lot of people get confused, and well I don’t really have one compelling thing that I want to do in the planet. I just knew I always wanted to have my own business. Okay. Why? What for? Not everybody has that. Why do you have it, right? Get clear about that.

That’s going to be so valuable because that’s the heartbeat, right? I think you could be very, very sure that if you worked for me at any given point, you would have experienced someone who was always going to be challenging your brain, always challenging you to lead. Always. And so that’s not going to be a mystery if I tell people what my vision is. It’s not going to be like, “Oh, that doesn’t make sense.” Of course it makes perfect sense, right?
So we first have to figure that out. What is the story? Why are you n the business that you’re in? Why are you doing what you do? And be really, really clear about it. Then we have to ask ourselves a few more questions because what we want a vision statement to do is we want our vision statement to tell us quickly, and tell others quickly, what it is that we do in the world. What is the reason that this business exists?

And there’s a lot of examples of great vision statements. I’m going to read you a few because I think you should get a sense of what they sound like if you haven’t heard one in a while. Or if your only experience with a vision statement is four paragraphs on a wall in somebody’s office somewhere. That’s not a vision statement. So Southwest is one of my favorite, right? To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airlines.

Ikea is our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people. Nerdster’s kind of cute. It’s to be a nerd for all your needs. And then there’s another company, which I think, so they’re all kind of different. Like there’s another company here called Moxie, and it’s, or sorry, it’s called Anago, and it’s to teach others to become successful. And another company called Real Good, to be the place that people go when they want to watch any TV show. So there’s a lot of different ways to think about it. And one other one is the, is Campbell’s, which is kind of cute and simple, right? Providing real food that matters for life’s moments. Which I’m sure doesn’t surprise you based on the kinds of commercials that they have.

So a vision statement for your business, because you have your own company and this company was born out of you, you’ve got to understand yourself first. Who are you? What is the ultimate goal that you’re trying to achieve and why? What is it that you value most? What is it the company should value most? And this is part of that conversation I’ve had with you a couple of times where we start to pull you apart from the business.

There’s you. So there’s me who wants to challenge and change the way people think. And then there’s the business. Well, the business was going to teach people how to teach female founders how to lead, right? The two are very symbiotic because from my perspective, again, leadership starts in the mind. So they go together. And then we can also think about, once we have our vision statement, we start thinking about what we expect of employees.

So when you write your vision statement, it has to be short and concise. It has to be incredibly simple and clear. We want it to be focused on the future, always. And we also want it to have a level of stability to it, which means that it’s a long-term outcome that we’re going for. It’s not something that you’re just going to do this week or this year.

And I also think it should be aspirational. It should have something in it that is like, oh, that’s exciting. And we want to focus on sort of the verb of it, right? So it’s to teach, it’s to lead, it’s to show, it’s to be, it’s to create. What is the verb of it? What is the verb of the business? I don’t know. Hopefully that makes sense to you the way I say that, right?

Then once we have a vision statement, so here’s a couple, also a couple other tips. Because I actually understand that this can be challenging. And the irony, this is funny, I was working with a company and they were working on their values. And they had hired a company to work on their values. It was a year-long project and they were paying them like $2 million to come up with their values. And I was like, “Oh, heavens. Give me seven hours and a million and I can have all your values figured out for you,” right? But I say that in jest, but the truth is actually that people, I think, overthink this stuff.

But you do need a place to go to think about it. And this is what I do with my clients. You have to have a clear vision statement, I believe, to do anything else in your business. And a lot of you have arrived at a successful seven figure business and you don’t have a clear vision. But I can promise you in the absence of a vision, you’ll start to flail. Because if you add people to your business, you add more and more employees, they need a target. What are we all doing here together? So it’s just a job or do we have a real vision, a real purpose on the planet? Okay?

So we go through a bunch of exercises. We go through the work together to make sure we get your vision really clear. You can do this on your own by following a lot of the things I just … Follow this podcast. Keep pressing pause. You could come up with your vision. One sentence, y’all. Not a paragraph. Then once you have your vision, then it’s time to make sure it’s clearly communicated. And that means it should be in your team manual. It should be everywhere you, if you have a wall, you want to have them on your walls in your building. I like to say things should be short enough to go on a bumper sticker or a sweatshirt.

And then we’ve got to have vision on our quarterly meetings where we remind people how we’re achieving our vision. What have we done so far to achieve our vision? So for example, for mine, we teach female founders how to lead. Every quarter, we’d update how many people have we worked with? How many lives have we touched? What have been the success stories of our clients? Do you tie back to your vision in terms of outcomes in your business and vice versa? These are the outcomes we want because it will help us achieve this vision, right?

So my current focus is 500 female founders. That’s my current focus in order to continue to satisfy or to … That’s not the right word. To accomplish, achieve, make good on my vision. So your vision should not be something that you have to look up when I ask you what it is, and that’s what happens to a lot of people. What’s your vision? “Oh, hang on a minute. I worked on that with a consultant a couple of years ago. Let me get that. Hang on, let me see if I can find it.” That’s what a lot of people do. They do the same thing with their values. “Oh, I know. Hang on. Hang on a minute.”
We want three values for a reason, because they’re easy to remember, right? We don’t need a lot of values because a lot of values just dilutes the ones that matter the most. And we need one vision statement. So write your vision statement, make sure you really understand it, make sure you can translate it into business results. Make sure that it’s well-communicated. Make sure that it can go on a bumper sticker. You can do fun, fancy things with it. You can put it on water bottles, you can put it on the wall. You can give people stickers. What can you do to make this vision real? Not just an exercise. And then live the vision, right? I can promise you that any person who has a conversation with me, I’m going to inevitably try and change the way they think.
And even my friends, like I have to turn this off, right? Like okay wait, it’s Saturday. I’m having a glass of wine with a friend. I don’t need to coach her. But it’s hard because I just feel so compelled. Like this is just who I am, right? And if you have a business because you want to help people feel good or you want to make people’s lives easier, I imagine that shows up in other parts of your life, not just your business, right? So is it transparent to everyone that of course that’s your vision? It makes perfect sense that that would be your vision, right?

Okay. I always love to hear from you guys. So I’m going to invite you, I haven’t done this a whole lot, but I just launched a new Instagram profile. So if you’re on Instagram, go to Kris Plachy Coach and follow me. And let me know what you think of this podcast or any other podcasts. It’s super fun to hear from you. And of course I always love a review if you want to post a review and then share it with me. I’d love to know who you are and what you’re up to and what you think. Of course I want to know what you think so I can help you change it. Have a great day.
Hey, don’t miss a thing. Make sure you join my community krisplachy.com/connect. Once you join, you’ll get all the information on exclusive and private experiences that I’m offering to my clients. I can’t wait to see you there.

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