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by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen TipsheetTagged as:

I Have a Dream.

Yes We Can.

We Strive to Serve Our Stakeholder Groups.

While the first two of these might be familiar, why isn’t the third? The first of these was from Martin Luther King Jr, while the second was from President Barack Obama. The third – or some version of it – forms a part of many organizations’ vision statement. Check your organization’s vision statement for yourself, and you’ll see these words, or words like them, somewhere.

The first two statements are visionary. They call us to see beyond ourselves, and picture our connection to something bigger: to have faith. The third is a “Vision Statement”; ironically so called, as there is no vision whatsoever: it requires us to actually define it as a vision statement. Neither King nor Obama had to announce that their words were a vision statement, their words, by themselves, just were, and we knew it.

What makes the first two so powerful is that they connect strongly at an emotional level. What makes the corporate vision statement so powerless is the complete lack of emotional connection.

Those who are most successful have figured out how to synchronize their passion with their profession. And the most successful organizations have figured out how to attract people whose personal visions synchronize with their corporate vision.  This is the reason why a vision statement must be inspirational; it can’t be cold, toothless jumbles of words that connect nowhere.

When both personal and corporate visions have an emotional connection there is electricity. When there is a disconnect, there is… nothing.


Take a stab at writing your own vision statement.  Is it dry and lifeless, or does it have meaning? Too often, our personal vision is borrowed from other people: our parents, teachers, friends, and managers. And it is thoroughly logical, devoid of an emotional connection. This week, spend some time dreaming, and write down your vision. (Yes – you can.)

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