Business unit managers at multinationals often don't get around to bringing vision to their department and renewing the organization. Not surprising: they are under such pressure that there is little room for strategic reflection.
The constant adrenaline rush you experience as a business unit manager in a multinational makes it extra difficult to think about where the organization should be in five years. To develop a vision, you must use the full capacity of your brain. Under everyday circumstances, you just don't have the time to put your legs up, stare into space and think for a long time. That makes it impossible to really develop focus. To do this, you must first create the right conditions.
1. Step away from the crowds
To be creative you need a nurturing environment. That almost always means: escaping the hustle and bustle. Go to a location that is preferably far away, where people cannot disturb you and where there are as few distractions as possible to escape to. Such a situation gives you the chance to come back to yourself. Because you can only develop a real vision if you go back to the source: yourself. In order to concentrate on your joint future, you must first remember what really excites you, what you really believe in, what really drives you. Real innovation requires authentic leadership.
2. Let go of your past
You have been working for years, in a very specific market. You have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Now it's time to let go of all that baggage. Forget your own company, forget history, forget where you are now. Let go of everything and just answer this question honestly: If you could start your business over again today, how would you go about it? Would you like exactly the same products and services and the same organizational culture? Or would you like to do it differently? If you really think completely free, where would you like to go?
3. Dare to face your dream
You might surprise yourself with the vision that emerges from the answer to that question. If you really went to the core, you sketch an organization where people act on the basis of values they can support, where they pursue worthy goals, where they operate in a truly innovative way. You outline the organization you really believe in, which you think deserves the future. It is your “North Star”: the point on the horizon where you want to go. Perhaps you feel a deep desire to realize that vision. To do what you feel is necessary, instead of doing what is asked of you. To follow your heart.
4. Focus on your “North Star”
This is the most dangerous moment. This is the moment when you think: nice, such a dream, but it's not real. Let's be realistic. We are already at this point. We can't start over.
That attitude is the biggest pitfall on your path. Without dreams there are no deeds. Therefore, hold your point on the horizon in your mind. Follow the path that leads to your "North Star". That's where you want to go. You just have to get there. Even if it takes years. Go for it.
Free yourself as a leader from old patterns, and connect with your essence, your authentic power. So that you can chart a true course.
5. Have the courage to make radical choices
Choosing clearly also means stopping things. This takes courage. It can also be painful, especially if the organization still makes good money from activities that you know will end sooner or later. Then remember: only by focusing all your arrows on your ultimate goal can you actually achieve it.
You first want to make sure that the basics are in order. You can't build a house if the foundation has collapsed. In order for your vision to succeed, you first want to chop up, disassemble and clean up the rubble. Only then can you build a new foundation.
6. Make your mission collaborative
If you don't want your vision to get bogged down, it's important to share it with everyone. With a shared mission you not only motivate your employees, but you also bring peace and structure to your organization. If you provide a logical sequence of events in the transformation, it will also take shape.
Moreover, for a mission statement to work, it should be no more than one page. You actually want to be able to explain in a few sentences what you are aiming for. People also need to understand the message immediately. This is an important test.
7. Put your heart into the business
You don't want your shared vision of the future to be a project that people do on the side. You want them to constantly engage with it, connect with it. That means freeing up extra capacity and forming new teams. That means reshaping all work to align with the new strategy. That means constant attention to what you stand for. Only by consistently aiming for that point on the horizon can you get one step closer together every day.