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Monday, July 25, 2005

"Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare."

Posted: 2005-07-24T21:21:27Z

Lance Armstrong won the 2005 Tour De France today. It was his seventh.

Winning today was not a surprise to Lance. In fact, few people were surprised today. The expected it even last week, last month, and last year. Many people expected it a few years ago.

This is historical in many respects and should give us pause. Why was Lance's win not surprising? Why was no individual or team in the world able to beat him?

Lance is an amazing athlete but he had a VISION and he established it as his MISSION. What followed is now history. Still, the vision turned mission, required a plan. It also required a team.

Do you have a vision for your business? Are you prepared to turn it into a mission? Careful, this is not a sport for the faint of heart. It will require your mind, your heart, and your body. Likely, it will also require considerable support and or effort on the part of others. It may even require a little luck or good fortune.

Consider evaluating the kind of environment you will need to be successful. Develop a list of adjectives or phrases that describe this environment. These adjectives must line up with the vision and mission and may describe effort or work habits, learning, process, interpersonal relationships, communications processes, and more. If you are working in a team environment, brainstorm these with the team. Remember, the standard rules of brainstorming apply, no criticism of contributions or contributors.

You will need to identify specific OBJECTIVES that are required to support the success in accomplishing your vision or mission. These objectives are key milestones on your journey and should be specific and achievable. They are success metrics.

When these objectives are accomplished is also important. Depending on the objective, it could be critical so you will also need to apply time constraints to your objectives. Time constraints are management metrics.

Just as your vision or mission requires accomplishing several objectives, each objective will likely require several supporting ACTIONS. Actions could include items related to people, process, technology such as key hires, organizational restructurings, acquisitions, divestitures, partnerships or alliances, improved processes, software development or implementation, or new or redistributed hardware. Each action should be classified as supporting at least one or potentially several objectives.

At this point, it should be intuitive that if a specific action is not accomplished the objective(s) it supports are at risk. Corollary to that, if specific objectives are at risk the mission or vision is also at risk.

To assist in managing this effort to victory, you may find it helpful to develop an ACTION PLAN or project plan. Beyond offering a tool to manage the effort, it may also validate or invalidate some of the original objectives or actions as the plan is being “put to paper.” This process of formalizing ideas, which may have only been verbalized before, can add a new perspective to what is truly required to be successful.

Do not be afraid to step back and reevaluate your objectives at this point. Beginning an implementation that is doomed from the start serves no one well. Test your ideas though objective and critical analysis.

Many a failed mission was originally put at risk because of ego or turf. The team should embrace the vision and mission. The team needs to understand the objectives. The team should be committed to achieving the objectives through the actions required for success. Like actions supporting objectives and objectives supporting the mission, individuals are needed to support the team for the company to be successful in accomplishing its vision.

Consider Lance’s efforts. They are tremendous indeed – the stuff of legend - but it was not an accident. It was not a surprise. Furthermore, it was not an individual effort.

Congratulations to Lance Armstrong (USA), George Hincapie (USA), Jose Azevedo (POR), Manuel Beltran (ESP), Benjamin Noval (ESP), Jose Luis Rubiera (ESP), Pavel Padrnos (CZE), Paolo Savoldelli (ITA), Yaroslav Popovych (UKR). Thank you. Your efforts and your success have given me the courage to have a grand vision and the strength to put it into action.

As a former amateur teen rider / racer, I regularly put in 450 miles a week, regardless of the weather, other activities, desires, or life circumstances. It was my passion. It did not seem like work. It did seem like sacrifice.

May you be fortunate enough to know your passion, build grand visions, and take bold actions. May I be fortunate enough to meet you on that road and share the ride with you.

For more on the race, visit: - Tour De France- Lance Tracker: Follow the stages of the Tour Please feel free to use any or all of this information to improve your life and the lives of others. "A life without giving is a life without living." Brett Gow


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