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Whose vision is driving your strategy?

Various futures

Often when we help companies co-create their strategy, we need to ask management some seemingly silly questions: What is a strategy? Where does your strategy take you? Whose vision is that? Who’s excited about this vision?

You need to have a vision before you have a strategy. How else would you know where you're going with that strategy?

But in real life, many companies do not have a truly believable vision for themselves. Yet, they are building a strategy that is taking them somewhere. Often, the case is simple: They are driven not by the company’s vision, but by the owner’s vision.

Let’s break down some vision types:

Owner’s vision

This is often numeric, aiming for growth or profitability. You’ll recognize these visions easily: “We want to be the market leader.” “We want to retain our market position.” “We aim to increase our revenue by 30% in the next year.” It’s all about the numbers and market dominance.

Family-owned business vision

An exception to the typical owner’s vision, family-owned companies often have long-term goals and a sense of bigger purpose in society. They think about legacy and sustainability beyond mere profitability.

Business vision

This vision is based on the existing market position and clientele. You can spot these visions from their Frankenstein’s monster appearance. They are stitched from existing elements, looking for unused potential. Some might ask: “Is this a vision or a strategy?”

Creative vision

Also known as Brand Vision, Societal Vision, or Innovation Vision, this is typically bold. It might have elements of domination, but generally, these types of visions aim to change something fundamental in the world or at least in the way business operates. These visions are emotional and story-like. They are great at motivating current and potential employees. This vision asks the question: “Do you want to see this future? Are you with us?”

So before you jump into a strategy process, ask yourself: Where are we heading? What is our vision? And whose vision is it?



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