Tag Archives: Elvis Presley

How Simple Is Your Vision? Great! Now Make It Simpler!

download (24)The leader is frustrated. “I don’t know why I’m having such trouble getting the team to buy-in to the company vision! It couldn’t be simpler!”

Then he shows me the company vision. It’s five paragraphs long. It contains sentences like, “To enhance the long-term value of the investment dollars entrusted to us by our shareholders,” and “To consistently strive to improve efficiency and productivity through learning, sharing, and implementing best practices.” It reeks of having been written by a committee-a committee that probably included at least three lawyers.

He wonders why he’s not getting buy-in to the vision? It’s because, contrary to his assertion, it could be simpler. It should be simpler. In fact, it must be simpler. Much, much, much simpler.

I’m going to take you into the deep, dark past. I’m going to take you to the 1960s, and then to the 1980s.

In the 60s, there was a musical group known as the Beatles. You can look them up-they’re on Wikipedia. When they were first starting out, one of the things that drove them was a shared vision, and it was this:

They were going to be bigger than Elvis. (As in Elvis Presley. He’s also on Wikipedia.)

Bigger than Elvis! That’s not five paragraphs-it’s three words. It wasn’t written by lawyers. In fact, it wasn’t written at all. It didn’t have to be. The four Beatles didn’t have to read their vision-they lived it. It fired up their emotions, it excited them, it drove them. There was no “buy-in” problem with the Beatles.

In the 80s there was a software company known as Microsoft. When they were first starting out, one of the things that drove them was a shared vision, and it was this:

A computer on every desk.

Not five paragraphs; five words. And everyone at Microsoft knew it. Not because it was written on a document hanging in the break room. Because they lived it. It fired up their emotions, it excited them, it drove them. There was no “buy-in” problem with Microsoft.

If you’re having trouble getting your team to “buy in” to your vision, I’d like to suggest that you haven’t made it simple enough. You’re mired in the forest, in the “how to.” Take a step back. A big step back. What’s the big picture? The one that gets you excited? The one that’ll get them excited?

And here’s a tip: If it doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker, it’s too long.

A computer on every desk.

How simple is your vision? Great! Now make it simpler!