Happy New Year, 2020 arrives at 12:01 AM, January 1.
However, officially, this is NOT the start of the next decade—a debate that comes up every ten years. Consider birth dates; since there is no “zero” year at birth, age 1 occurs at the end of 12 months and progresses through age 9 when you become 10 (or 20, 30, etc.).
The Year 2020: The Metaphor
I decided that 2020 could be an appropriate metaphor for the beginning of this new year regardless of whether it is the end of the first decade of the millennium or the beginning of the second decade. However, the metaphor breaks down when used as an indication of [visual] clarity. Upon investigation, I discovered the reference to 20/20 eyesight is simply normal eyesight for a static perception of a standard set of black and white letters on a wall chart at a distance of 20 feet.
Your personal or organizational vision
Sharpening your focus on your personal and organizational vision at this time of the year can be the most important step you can take to make 2020 your best year ever. Let’s begin by defining the terms:
A vision statement focuses on tomorrow and what an organization will ultimately become. A mission statement focuses on today and what an organization must do to achieve the vision. Both are essential in the formulation of goals and objectives – the measurable targets with dates and units of measurement. It is important to have both – a mission and vision statement – but not to use them interchangeably.
The Strategic Trio: Mission, Vision, Values
How often have you heard this trio rattled off rapid-fire like they’re one catchy phrase –when, in fact, they are three very distinct strategic concepts? It is essential that the lines between them not get blurred (let’s hang on to the metaphor here).
From a practical, strategic perspective, Mission can be referred to as purpose or reason the enterprise exists and what it must do now. Think of Vision as a future event or situation as if it is happening now – as seen on the screen inside your head. Values or beliefs are the guiding principles the organization expects to be used to achieve the Mission and Vision. Values statements are an expression of how people are to be treated (fellow employees, customers, vendor/partners and other stakeholders).
Some Well-known Examples
Mission: We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience.
Vision: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
Mission: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Vision: To provide access to the world’s information in one click.
Mission: To attract and attain customers with high-valued products and services and the most satisfying ownership experience in America.
Vision: To be the most successful and respected car company in America.
One of the best examples I frequently use with clients in establishing clarity are the Six Critical Questions found on page 77 of Patrick Lencioni’s best-selling book, The Advantage. Lencioni says that if members of a leadership team can rally around clear answers to these fundamental questions . . . this may well be the most important step of all in achieving the advantage of organizational health:
1. Why do we exist?
2. How do we behave?
3. What do we do?
4. How will we succeed?
5. What is most important, right now?
6. Who must do what?
I recommend individuals answer those six questions for themselves – not just leadership teams – to begin the new year (2020) with optimal clarity. This could be the most important activity for anyone who wants 2020 to be their best year ever.
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