Entrepreneur Edition with Cameron Herold – Part One
December 16, 2021
“No dream is too big.” Have you ever heard that statement before and do you believe that it’s true? After listening to best-selling author and business coach Cameron Herold discuss how to create your company’s own Vivid Vision, you’ll be inspired to dream bigger and have a plan of action on how to get your team, stakeholders and even your customers behind it. Discover the power of planning three years into the future and envisioning your company’s goals as if they’ve already been achieved.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:00:06] This is The 19! In 19 minutes or less game-changing insights from Orange Label, the leading response marketing agency for established brands that are driven by a fearless entrepreneurial mindset.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:00:24] Hello and welcome to the 19 entrepreneur edition, I’m Rochelle Reiter, President of Orange Label. As we approach 2022, Do you have a vision for how you want the new year to look? Our special guest, Cameron Herold does – and he’s here with ideas on how to best shape yours. Cameron’s a top-rated international speaker and author of five business books, including The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs, Vivid Vision and his global bestseller, Double Double. As founder of the COO Alliance, Cameron has helped clients double their profit and revenue in just three years or less. A walking example that every CEO needs a great COO. Cameron was the mastermind behind 1-800-Got-Junk and increased revenues from $2 million to $106 million in just six years. In this two part episode, Cameron will share best practices for entrepreneurs, CEOs and COOs to make their visions a reality.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:01:20] So Cameron, I saw you speak many, many years ago at a vintage conference on Vivid Vision, and our ownership team was so excited about it that we went back and got to work. Now we have done two Vivid Visions and we are on our third. Tell us about the power of a Vivid Vision.
Cameron Herold: [00:01:40] You got a great memory that was about 10 years ago that I spoke at that event to. I guess the real power is that all of your customers, suppliers and employees can finally read the mind of the entrepreneur or CEO, and it literally gets everyone on the same page where they they understand the look and feel of the company and how it’s operating, and they start to get inspired in how they can help make it happen. They see where they fit in the organization and they just get a lot more clarity.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:02:10] When do most businesses start this process?
Cameron Herold: [00:02:13] Well, hopefully they started it. As soon as they learn about it, they’re now hearing about it online and in my books and speaking events. The best time for an organization to start it is right at their annual planning process, so they want to roll out this four or five page written description of their company three years in the future. If they do that right at the start of their annual planning, then you can start making plans on how to make that Vivid Vision come true over the next three years, and you end up building an operating plan for one year. But everyone’s driving towards that three year shared Vivid Vision together.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:02:45] So in our instance, we developed one and then three years later, we developed another one, but it was very similar to the initial round. How do you see the Vivid Vision change for companies who do it every three years?
Cameron Herold: [00:02:58] Well, what tends to happen is when companies are really focused on executing that Vivid Vision, and every quarter they’re rereading the Vivid Vision. Every quarter they’re discussing what projects to make certain sentences of that Vivid Vision come true. Over time, the Vivid Vision starts to become true. Each sentence starts to become completed. So typically, after three years, the company starts to look and feel different that you roll out the next three year Vivid Vision, the next kind of iteration of what it’s growing. Much like a child, right? You’ve got kids that are 16 and 13. Six years ago, your 16 year old was still that same person, but they were at 10 years old. They were a very different human than they are at 16, the same company that’s evolving and growing and scaling. If you were doing a three year Vivid Vision with your 16 year old, what you would be focusing on them becoming as a 19 year old is very different than what you were focusing on, them becoming as a 16 year old. So it starts to kind of evolve and build. The core values might stay consistent, but maybe the rhythms are different, or maybe the focus on leadership is different. Often, the role of the leadership team becomes less top-down hierarchical, telling people what to do, and it almost flips the org chart upside down where the leadership team is below the team, supporting them and growing them and and aligning the team. So often that’s where the shift starts to happen. As is the company scales.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:04:16] So if a listener is hearing this for the first time, how does one go about developing a Vivid Vision? Is it done by the CEO? Is it done by several partners or is it done by a leadership team?
Cameron Herold: [00:04:28] First starting point The Vivid Vision is a four or five page written description of what your company looks like, acts like and feels like three years in the future. So what happens is it’s really best for the CEO to craft the vision of what their company looks like and feels like. And then the role of the leadership team to figure out how to make it come true. So it’s the CEO who needs to get out of the office, go somewhere where they’re inspired and start crafting the rough elements, the thinking about every aspect of their company describing the customer engagement three years from now. Describing employee engagement three years from now. Describing operations and marketing and I.T. and finance. Describing every single business area as if it’s already come true. And then you can get a copywriter to polish all that rough work and make it pop off the page. But that document is really best written by the CEO, and then the leadership team is best to figure out how to make that come true.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:05:23] You touched on earlier the cadence of when you read the Vivid Vision. So looking at it on a quarterly basis, how to make sure the momentum is happening and keeping it going. What do you recommend in terms of the tools to keep that execution going and the momentum building over time?
Cameron Herold: [00:05:39] Sure. Let’s let’s pretend for a second that we were building a home together and we had a vision of what our home was going to look like. You know, we would look at the diagrams and look at the drawings and look at the blueprints. And then we’d start building the home for a week and then we’d come back and look at the diagrams and the plan again. Then we’d keep building the home. That’s kind of what you keep doing at the leadership team level is you keep reading the Vivid Vision so you understand where you’re going over the next three years and then you get back and focusing on the next annual plan or the quarterly plan and making parts of it come true. It starts to kind of evolve over time. So one of the tools that I do is that every planning meeting I have, the leadership team and managers reread the Vivid Vision. Every quarter, I send the Vivid Vision to all of the customers and my suppliers, my accountant, my lawyer. Every quarter you have all of your employees. Read the Vivid Vision. You send a copy of the division to every potential employee before they come for their first interview. So you’re always talking about the future, but then you’re executing on today, and it’s by talking about it and rereading it and sharing it constantly every quarter that people start to feel it the same way that it usually is circulating inside the mind of the CEO.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:06:49] Yeah, that’s amazing. So you actually used it with customers?
Cameron Herold: [00:06:52] Yeah, I send it to to customers and also to potential customers. When potential customers read what you can see. They get more inspired, you know, more more often than if I used to speak about my COO Alliance. As an example, I have an organization of COOs from around the world. If I talk about what we have today, it’s cool. But if I talk about what it looks like in three years, it’s inspiring and exciting. More people want to join what they get to help build versus what is already built. I’ve had clients of mine who I used to coach that landed a million dollar customers because the customer was so excited about what this company was going to be over the next three years. They joined because of what they were going to get versus what they were getting today. I’ve even had bankers fund companies growth because they finally understood what the company was building. They never understood the financial projections or the models that we were handing them.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:07:44] Wow! I can’t imagine that would be great for employee recruitment as well.
Cameron Herold: [00:07:49] It’s huge for employee recruitment. It’s huge for employee engagement. It also is really, really powerful because on a daily basis, employees understand where they fit and what parts, what sentences of the Vivid Vision they’re help making come true.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:08:03] That’s powerful! Do you include it in part of the review process in terms of evaluating people and seeing how they’re doing?
Cameron Herold: [00:08:09] Not necessarily on the scoring of an individual employee contributor because their job is to do the tactical work, to maybe make sentences come through, but it’s absolutely part of them deciding what projects to work on. It’s part of them getting excited about working in the day to day work. So I’ve used an example for years if you’ve ever been to Barcelona and you’ve seen the famous Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia building. It’s being built for the last hundred and forty years, this incredible cathedral being built. And, you know, 50 years ago, they asked these three men sitting out on the sidewalk and they were making bricks and they said, The first guy, what are you doing? Said, I’m making bricks. And they said, the second guy, what are you doing? I said, I’m building a wall and I get to make the bricks to build a wall. They said to the third guy, What are you doing? He said, We’re building the Sagrada Familia and I get to make the bricks to build the left wall of the cathedral. So all three of them were making bricks. But the person who saw the vision and understood what they were building had more meaning in their day to day. So it’s less about a management tool, and it’s more about an inspiration to when everyone’s inspired. You don’t have to manage them at all. They’re excited to just get their work done.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:09:14] Yeah. How have you seen the process of Vivid Vision creation changed during the last 18 months? I feel like a lot of companies were in survival mode, and now everybody’s starting to talk about vision again. How have you experienced that in the last 18 months?
Cameron Herold: [00:09:29] I’ve seen it change in two ways. One, I actually have a partner on the whole Vivid Vision process. Jennifer Hudye, with her brand Conscious Copy, she and her team have helped about four hundred and fifty companies take their rough work of the Vivid Vision, and they have a number of meetings with them to pull out more of the ideas and help them craft it and write them. So the fact that they’ve written about four hundred and fifty company divisions from all over the world has been just a powerful amplifier of the tool. But in terms of COVID and the way that it’s being used, I think companies now are realizing more than ever when you have a hybrid company with some employees coming to an office, some employees being remote, maybe employees being from different cities or states or countries. It’s really important for people to understand exactly what that company looks like. How are we operating? What are we building? What’s the rhythms in the business like? And the concept is a really strong aligning tool, much more than a mission statement, you know, that one sentence statement ever used to be.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:10:24] Sure, so it’s really transformational, especially during this time. I can see that because everybody is not going to the same place.
Cameron Herold: [00:10:32] It’s also been really powerful in the last 18 months again in recruiting new employees, because when you’re recruiting employees, you have to stand out and be different than all the other companies they could work with. And when a potential employee gets to read a Vivid Vision of what your company looks like and feels like in the future, they get very excited about what they get to help build. So that’s become powerful versus if they’re applying to work for XYZ Company and that other company doesn’t really have anything similar. You really do stand out in a completely different way.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:11:00] Yeah. Do you have any data points or metrics about company success that have done a Vivid Vision versus somebody that hasn’t?
Cameron Herold: [00:11:07] I have a lot of anecdotal ones and a lot of emails that get written constantly where people come back in and they say, wow, like, I was completely excited to write a Vivid Vision and hoping we could double the size of a company, but we tripled or it blew us away or it aligned or we just won. A lot of clients that I worked with years ago to write Vivid Visions ended up ranking number one to work for in their country. I coach two companies that went on to ranked number one to work for in Australia. One, She ended up being on Shark Tank in Australia. One that went on to ranked number two in all of North America by Forbes Magazine. Two that went on to rank number one to work for in British Columbia. So a lot of companies became very iconic cultural brands in their states or countries, but I haven’t actually measured it. But I’m getting again dozens and dozens of emails. Even if you go on Amazon and just read the actual comments from people hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of reviews about the Vivid Vision book, you can actually see the comments from people.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:12:03] What would you say are the biggest obstacles in getting a Vivid Vision down on paper?
Cameron Herold: [00:12:08] Well, the first one is that entrepreneurs tend to try to figure out, how am I going to make it happen? And instead of worrying about how am I going to do it, they should start thinking about who can help me make it happen. If we were building a home, if I was going to build my dream home, I don’t think about how am I going to do the electrical and how am I going to do the plumbing? And how am I going to install the cabinets because I know I can’t do it. I just say, well, someone will figure that out. And in the block, and the company tends to be the entrepreneur thinks they need to know how to do it as soon as they release themselves, from having to worry about how it’ll come true. Then they’re very empowered because it allows them to dream bigger and attract better people who can help them figure out how to make that come true. It becomes a who problem, not a how problem.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:12:54] Right. If you were to give one piece of advice to an entrepreneur that’s embarking on a Vivid Vision and trying to create it on their own. What would you say?
Cameron Herold: [00:13:04] I’d say dream a little bit bigger. Lean out of the box. Just a little bit bigger. Get first. Really, get out of your office and go somewhere where you’re inspired. Go to the beach, sit by the ocean. Go sit up on the top of a hill or a mountain or a ski hill near you. Go sit somewhere near a lake and don’t take your MacBook or your iPhone with you. Just take a a notepad and a pen. And start dreaming about different areas of your business. You know, write down three or four points about what marketing will look like in the future. Write down three or four points about what employees are writing about you on Glassdoor or Indeed. Write down three or four things that customers are saying about you on your Google reviews. And don’t worry about how it’s going to come true. And if you just allow your mind to drift as to what you want your company to look like and feel like three years in the future, all of a sudden you start to get pretty excited about it. And that’s really a great starting point.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:13:56] And then that’s where you invite others in.
Cameron Herold: [00:13:59] Yeah, because other people can now start to contribute what they’re excited about as well, and you can start to see sometimes areas that you’re completely missing. You might get someone in your leadership team that says, Well, how about the way that we measure our company or the dashboards? You’re like, oh yeah, I should describe that. Or how about our relationships with our lawyers or our accountants? Oh yeah, we should describe that. Or how about the way that we’re growing our our managers and investing in our leadership team growth and investing in the growth and skills of our people? Oh yeah, I should talk about that. So you start seeing some holes and some areas that you still know in your mind what you want to look like, but you’ve forgotten to articulate.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:14:35] Sure. Now, once you have the input from the other people on the leadership team, how have you seen companies market this to their potential employees and their internal team? We actually did a written version and then had a video created. What are some of the things that you’ve seen in terms of marketing tools to share the Vivid Vision?
Cameron Herold: [00:14:54] Yeah, great idea. So the first part is the finished document should end up being around four or five pages as a PDF document, including your design elements, because you don’t want someone to open up a PDF and see that it’s a 12 page Vivid Vision. They’re just not going to read it, they’re going to skim. Try to keep it in a length that is more digestible. I have seen some people do some great videos of it. I’ve seen some people consolidate and take the most impactful sentences and do visual depictions that can go up on a wall inside of an office. I’ve seen people do cartoon drawings or draw shop drawings where you know you have the person drawing on a whiteboard and they make their Vivid Vision come through with a whiteboard drawing. Just anything like that can be really powerful. But the real interesting starting point is that written four to five page description. One thing I’ve seen companies do really well a client of mine in Arizona, he had all of his employees read the Vivid Vision, and then he had each individual employee do their own vision board of how they could see that Vivid Vision looking like. So hundreds of these employees or about 80 employees did their own vision boards, and every vision board was completely different, but it inspired them and their vision, their vision board for what the Vivid Vision looked like hung in front of their desk every day.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:16:11] I love that!
Cameron Herold: [00:16:12] So it just became a really exciting, aligning, powerful point. The wrong way to do that is to have the company do a vision board because we’ve all heard that story that a picture says a thousand words. You know, it might mean something to Fred, but Mary, when she sees it, sees something completely different in that picture. So if you’re using the vision board, it’s really powerful for one person to do their vision board, but not to do one vision board for the whole company. That’s why the Vivid Vision written document is so much more powerful.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:16:41] That’s fantastic. You just gave me an idea for our next execution of it. So awesome. Your advice on Vivid Vision and you have a book on it.
Cameron Herold: [00:16:49] Yeah, I’ve got a book called Vivid Vision. And then I also covered the document or the concept in my first book, Double Double. And then I also covered it in the book that I coauthored with Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:17:07] Thank you for listening to part one of The 19: Entrepreneur Edition with Cameron Herold. To learn more about Vivid Vision, visit Cameron’s website at CameronHarold.com/vivid-vision. If you have additional thoughts on this topic, send us an email. You can send questions, comments and more to email@example.com.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:17:36] A special thank you goes out to our contributors, Senior Studio Manager Kelsey Phillips, Micah Panzich, who edits our show, and Ashley Ruiz, Senior Content Writer. Be sure to subscribe to The 19 on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify, and, if you like what you heard today, leave us a review!