Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man with a vision. It was a huge vision which he dedicated his life to and who challenged the rest of us to do the same. Not only did he champion equal rights but also equal access to economic opportunity for all Americans. A lesson we can all learn from MLK is the power of a clear and compelling vision, for our lives, our companies and our communities.

In in today's fast paced world of instant communication and gratification, it seems long term strategic plans and vision statements may have lost some relevance and have been overtaken by short term goals and agendas.

Yes it is absolutely important to have goals and ways to measure progress but there is something beyond goals that all successful people, businesses and communities have, and that's a compelling vision. A vision for the future where they see things as they are and then they make sure they also see things better than they are. Research proves over and over again that the companies, communities and even governments that have greater sustainability and lasting success are those with a sense of deep mission and meaning in what they do.

What is a compelling vision?

One that you can visualise in your mind's eye, one that you can almost touch, taste and feel what it will feel like to achieve that vision. Luminaries past and present such as MLK have an ability to step into their vision and future self and communicate and work from that place with absolute clarity. Our UQ Powerhouse framework for all we teach at UQ Power has vision as the first of its four quadrants. We believe that vision underpins everything you do and you can't move forward with a sense of urgency and purpose without it.

Employees today want more than just a pay check, they want more meaning in the workplace and that can come from being part of a team contributing to a compelling vision. At medical product company Medtronic when new employees join the company they go to a "Mission and Medallion" ceremony where they meet the CEO and hear about how the company has changed the lives of patients and employees. Each employee is given a medallion with a depiction of a sick person rising and are asked to accept the mission of Medtronic which is "to restore people to full life and health".

In his inspiring book Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl quotes Nietzsche saying "He who has a WHY can bear with almost any HOW." What's your why? Is it so clear you can almost touch it and feel it? Do those that need to be on board have clarity and ownership of their part of moving towards the vision?

Don't have a vision? Try this exercise with your team. Each person writes down in their own words what their own personal vision for the organisation, group or relationship is. They then pass their version to the person on their right. That person underlines the words that resonate with them and then passes the paper onto the next person until everyone has reviewed each others. At the end the most highly endorsed (underlined) common words can be written on a white board and discussed by the group writing them into a sentence that represent the groups' view of a single shared vision.

Author's Bio: 

CEO, UQ Power and International Company Culture Coach, Heidi Alexandra Pollard says her team are red hot, refreshing renegades, hunting down boring brands, stuck in a sea of sameness and charging them to power up their people, their presence and their profits. Their mission is to help elevate the global playing field for small to mid-sized companies through their unique brand and culture strategies that are easy on the finances, easy to implement and easy to sustain.