Culture Rules – Part Three: “What is your ‘Vision’ for your company/organization?”

Excerpted with permission from Mark Miller’s new book “Culture Rules”

Dream no small dreams for they have no power to stir the hearts of men. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Note from Bob:  Mark has packed so much great content into “Culture Rules” that it simply cannot all be shared in just one post – so we are going to break Rule #1 “Aspire” into five parts!   

Today’s Post, is  Part Three: “What Is Your ‘Vision’ for Your Company/Organization?”

Click HERE to read Part One:  “What Is the ‘Ethos’ of Your Company/Organization?”

Click HERE to read Part Two: “What Is the ‘Purpose’ of Your Company/Organization?”

Click HERE to read Part Four:  “What Is the ‘Mission’ for Your Company/Organization?” 

Click HERE to read Part Five: “What Are the ‘Values’ for Your Company/Organization?”  

Three Rules for Building Your Culture:

These 3 Rules and their accompanying best practices will enable you to:

  • Clarify and communicate your organization’s cultural aspirations.
  • Reinforce the aspiration through your daily activities.
  • Maintain relevance and vitality by constantly enhancing your culture.

Rule #1: Aspire
Share your hopes and dreams for the culture.

Vision is a broad and directional picture of the future. Of the different mechanisms for articulating the Aspiration, vision statements are the most likely to inspire and encourage people. Unfortunately, many vision statements are too technical and precise to inspire. In many cases, they also try to say too much. A great vision statement captures the essence of your Aspiration, not the details.

As you read the following statements, you will undoubtedly see the similarities between some of these and the statements you just read representing purpose. This is the slippery slope I mentioned previously. There is no consensus in the leadership literature on common definitions for these terms. A lot of really smart people define and use these terms very differently. That is okay. In the end, you, as the leader, must pick the term or terms you want to use and how you will define those words in your context.

In many organizations, vision is their source of inspiration and meaning. Here are a few vision statements that fit this definition. You can decide for yourself how inspiring they are.

IKEA: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”

Whole Foods Market: To nourish people and the planet.

Amazon: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company.

CVS: To help people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Fight the urge to be too specific and detailed in your vision—unless specificity is required based on the type of organization you are leading. I assume engineers, for example, would be more inspired by specifics because that is the world they live in. But for most people, inspiration and clarity do not require all the details.

Some would say Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was a great example of vision. He did not say, “I have a strategic plan,” and then proceed to unpack the specific details when he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Rather, he said:

So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.  I have a dream today!

Your Vision

What is your dream for your organization? What is your vision? Where do you look for it? In your head and your heart. Here are some questions that will help you discover your vision for your organization:

  • What are you convinced that your organization should endlessly and tirelessly strive for?
  • What is big enough that you could work toward it your entire career and then pass the baton to others to pursue?
  • What is so big and so admirable, you can think of nothing better to devote your leadership energy toward accomplishing?
  • What would catapult your organization into the future?
  • What pursuit would energize you and your people?
  • What is something you feel must be passionately pursued?

Think over the horizon. Think about your life’s work. Think about your contribution to the world. Think about your legacy as a leader. Think big, and then think bigger. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s words on this topic are a personal challenge for me: “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to stir the hearts of men.”

Click HERE to purchase your “Culture Rules” book today!

You can also view the one hour Webinar on “Culture Rules” Mark did on February 6 by clicking  HERE  

Mark Miller


Mark Miller is a business leader, best-selling author, and a communicator. He is currently serving as the Vice President of High Performance Leadership for Chick-fil-A, Inc. Beyond chicken, Mark’s global influence continues to grow. Today, there are over a million copies of his books in print, in twenty-five languages. Culture Rules is his eleventh  title.


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