We don’t do our best work under pressure. Stress and productive creativity are poor companions at the best of times, and particularly now. While our current circumstances may not be optimal, that doesn’t mean that we can’t find the physical, mental and metaphorical space to function. It just needs a little work to define, and a little more effort to negotiate and make happen.
Getting clear about what you are are doing and where you are going is incredibly valuable and important. It’s also very challenging to do. The greater your ambition, the longer the list of things that you dream of getting done. The more that you care about delivering quality results, the more essential it is to get focused about where you invest your effort and attention. That involves difficult choices that most of us very` often don’t like acknowledging, let alone actually making.
It’s all well and good to say that we should dig deep, commit to learning and move forward with intention. But move forward where? What are we trying to accomplish? What goal are we really trying to bring to life. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us are wandering around with dozens of partly-formed dreams, ambitions and aspirations that hope our future self will get around to bringing to fruition. Continuing to push those ideas past the horizon into the future makes that realization unlikely. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Vision statements—like mission statements—need to be specific, meaningful and clear. They reflect our future aspirations, and are an important test of where we are going and why that is important. Like mission statements, though, vision is often vague, imprecise and overly general. For vision to do something, it has to say something.
We often think we know what we mean when we use the term “strategic.” It’s self evident, right? Except, in my experience, it is very often not. Strategic is often viewed as a vague concept outlining general ideas that don’t really provide much guidance, direction or usefulness. Which is exactly what we don’t need more of. My take on what strategic looks like, and the meaning that you should be seeking.
Language is critical. Navigating change involves creating language. At the same time the language that we use gets in the way. The words we choose to communicate our message are essential to our ability to create meaning. But we don’t always do a good job in exercising choice. We obfuscate and we obstruct. We choose obscure and complicated words because we think they sound good. In doing so, we undermine meaning. And we do so at our peril.