The start of a new year inspires reflection, projection and goal-setting. The start of a new decade inspires all that and more. 2020 is a year meant for VISION. Visions of the future: the year ahead, the next decade, and beyond.

What is Vision? Merriam Webster dictionary defines vision as “the act or power of seeing” or “a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination”. A vision is a picture of your business’s future. It sets direction, empowers your team and provides a touchstone for critical business decisions.

Does your company have a vision of its future? As leaders, do you own and share that vision? Do your employees? Here’s a few characteristics of a compelling vision or vision statement for your business.

Characteristics of a vision:

· Aspirational: A vision defines the future reality that you, your business and your team aspire to achieve. It should feels like a reach. An aspirational vision is not a slam-dunk. It’s the flag you plant when you’ve climbed to the top of the mountain. It creates the picture and the feeling that keeps you climbing.

· Achievable: Your business vision should be achievable. This doesn’t mean easy. An achievable vision is one that with the right business plans and strategies in place and with focused execution can be achieved. It fits your business, your current and future capabilities, markets and business… with some stretch, hopefully a lot of stretch.

· Inspiring: A business vision should be inspiring to your company and your team. It extracts an “Yes! That’s where I want to be!” from yourself, your leaders, your staff. It paints a picture of the future that inspires and encourages the dedication, determination and execution required from all your team members.

· Future-focused: Your business vision paints a picture of your business and company 5 to 10 years or more into the future. It paints a picture that your company will grow and morph into and takes you to newer (bigger, brighter!) places.

· Distinctive: “Be Like Mike” worked well for a marketing campaign, but it doesn’t work so well for defining your business future. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, your business vision should be distinctive to you as a leader and to your company in its unique value and approach to its markets, customers and investors.

· Clear: Just like focusing your eyes with 20/20 vision allows you to see clearly, your business’s vision statement provides clarity of its future direction, targets and aspirations. It becomes a measuring stick (or perhaps the magic 8-ball) for strategic decisions, so that “Does “it” (the acquisition, investment, etc.) fit our Vision?” becomes a simple Yes/No question.

· Constant: A business vision doesn’t necessarily last for the life of the company, but it does become a constant in your business framework over a period of time. A changing exchange rate, drop or rise in the price of oil, or sudden shift in your market doesn’t change your business vision. Your business plan and execution may adapt but the vision remains steady until it is realized, or you hit the timeline or milestone that creates the impetus for a new vision.

Vision alone is not enough. It needs to be backed up by strategy, planning and lots of solid execution. Yet vision itself is necessary and is central to individual and organizational motivation.

2020 Vision. See it clearly.