Why do visions become just a title? ( Requirement #1 of a good vision )

In my previous article, I talked about why vision is so important now, and how in the current trend of changing relationships between individuals and organizations, vision is at the core of choosing to “go far together” and to work with consistency over the long term.

In this article, I would like to talk about what a good vision is, from the perspective of conscious awareness. I believe that the definition and importance of vision has already been given in many management books, but if we look at it from the perspective of the ISHIKI(consciousness) Management, we can see it from a different angle.

What is a vision?

First, let’s review the definition of vision.

Definition of Vision (Ochiai’s idea)
The future world that will be created towards the realization of the mission, and the future image of ourselves achieving the highest level of development in that world.

Definition of mission (Ochiai’s idea)
A purpose that a community or individual continues to pursue in perpetuity.

Vision, in a nutshell, is an image of the future. In the above definition, it includes both our own vision of the future and the vision of the world that we ourselves will become a part of and create. This is based on the idea that it is important that our visions are not only for ourselves, but also for the greater good that surrounds us.

In addition, in order to create a vision, a vision of the future, we need a sense of purpose as its root. Commonly referred to as mission, I believe this can be viewed as a subjective truth, either as an individual or as an organization.

Vision is not the first thing that comes to mind, but rather a sense of purpose, such as a subjective truth or mission. A vision is the embodiment of that sense of purpose into a future image on a specific time axis.

Good visions are connected to subjective truths

Now that I’ve talked about the definition of vision, I’d like to think about what a good vision is.

One of the requirements for good vision is a connection to subjective truth. Subjective truth is “an ideal that makes life worth living for us, a purpose for living that is unique to us.” If you would like to know more about subjective truth, please refer to this article.

I mentioned earlier that vision does not come first, but subjective truth and mission do, and a good vision contains something that feels connected to subjective truth and mission.

I will explain a little more in detail with some examples.

As the first example, I would like to take up the famous speech “I have a dream” by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. who led the American civil rights movement around 1960. The following is a passage from that speech.

(Martin Luther King memorial in Washington)

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 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.

This speech is so famous that you may have heard or read it before. If you haven’t listened to the speech yet, I highly recommend that you do so. (For example, here)

In this speech, we not only see a clear vision, but we also feel Reverend King’s strong sense of mission and his lifelong determination to accomplish it. This is exactly what we can call the connection to mission and subjective truth.

Some people may think that it takes someone like Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to have such a sense of mission and determination. Indeed, I believe that there are very few people who can provide influential leadership on a society-wide issue like the civil rights movement.

However, what is important is not the resulting sphere of influence, but whether or not we can feel our inner energy welling up as we connect to the subjective truth.

As our inner energy arises, we can consistently work on realizing our visions. This inner energy creates empathy and resonance in those around us, and we are able to work on the realization of our visions not alone, but together with those around us.

Visions begin with subjective truths.

Is there anyone who will keep doing at all costs?

If we were to express from another angle that vision is connected to subjective truth, we could say that a good vision is one in which someone is willing to keep trying at all costs.

Are there people who will continue to do whatever it takes to achieve the vision of the team or organization to which you belong?

If there are a few people, or even just one person, who will continue to do whatever it takes, then the vision is a good vision, or has the potential to become a good vision.

On the other hand, no matter how wonderful the expression of a vision is, it cannot be said to be a good vision if there is no one who will continue to do it at all costs.

When we create a new team or start a new business, we often need to think about the vision of the team. What tends to happen in these situations is that you try too hard to think of something that will be good for everyone on the team, and end up with something that no one wants to continue doing at all costs.

It is important to think about what would be good for everyone on the team, and there is nothing wrong with such an approach. However, it is important to be fully aware that if the connection to the subjective truth of each individual is discarded in the process, there is a risk that the most important thing will be lost.

I would like to share with you a case study of our company in this regard. I’m not talking about visions, but I would like to talk about the time when we tried to redefine our values (the values we want to share within our team) as one of our management principles.

Around 2010, a proposal was made to redefine our company’s values, and it was decided to take a bottom-up approach, eliciting the opinions of all employees and consolidating them to create the values.

Our company was founded on October 29th, 2003, and every year around October 29th, we hold an event to commemorate the founding of our company to deepen communications and share our management philosophy. At that time, we decided to use the opportunity of this founding event to gather the opinions of all employees.

The approach of eliciting the opinions of all employees was very good, and about 10 new values were verbalized through active discussion by all. The content of the values was excellent, and the process was inclusive, with a high level of participation from each individual.

The creation of these new values was not the end of the project, and we were also thinking of ways to share them on an ongoing basis. However, after about two years, although the values were still there in words, they did not remain in the minds of each employee, including myself.

The reason for this, I believe, is that while it was true that “it was good for everyone,” it did not reach the point where “no matter what, I am going to keep doing this at all costs.”

This is not to say that the bottom-up approach was a bad one. It was a great approach. I think it was also a good approach to absorb the opinions of each individual and create something that felt good and had a sense of participation for the whole team. What I should have regretted the most was that I myself was not prepared to the level of “continuing to do whatever it takes”.

Based on these reflections, we redesigned Alue’s values in 2012.At this time, I placed importance on the point that there should be at least one person who would “continue to do whatever it takes. I thought that this person should be myself as the president, so I took the approach of making the final decision to redefine the values and expressing them in a way that makes sense to me.

Since we had reflected on the previous value development, everyone agreed to take such an approach. The values that we formulated in this way are still firmly in place and have taken root as part of our corporate culture.

In this article, I talked about one of the requirements for a good vision is to have a connection with the subjective truth, or to express it from another angle, to have at least one person who “keeps on doing whatever it takes.”

Here are the quests of the day. (If you’d like, please share your thoughts in the comments.)

・If you have ever had a “good vision,” what kind of vision was it? Whose subjective truth was that vision connected to?

・Have you ever had an experience that was “good for everyone” but not “a must-do” for any one person? What was that experience like?

Bunshiro Ochiai

Founder and CEO of a training company, Alue | MS in Particle Physics. | BCG | Questing “What is the paradigm for integrating contradictions in management?”