When it comes to New Year’s resolutions and goal planning, the routine usually goes something like this: reviewing the year and then creating a plan of action for what’s to come. When business coach and author Cameron Herold meets with CEOs, COOs and entrepreneurs to map out the future of their companies, he takes a different approach. An approach that looks beyond the year ahead and three years into the future. This process is what Cameron calls a Vivid Vision, as discussed in his books Double Double and Vivid Vision, and it’s the first step he takes to double a company’s size. “It’s been nearly a decade since Orange Label was first introduced to Cameron Herold and his Vivid Vision concept,” Orange Label President Rochelle Reiter shares, “It’s been so transformative to the team that we love sharing it with our clients.” Keep reading to learn more and stay tuned for our upcoming two-part podcast with Cameron this month!
Defining a Vivid Vision
A Vivid Vision is a “detailed overview of what business will look like and feel like three years out.” Like a time machine that beams a business owner or senior executive three years into the future, a Vivid Vision asks leaders to describe every aspect of their company’s future as if in the present time. In this process, details such as how meetings look or what the media is saying about the organization are then transferred from imagination to paper.
Vivid Vision documents should be four to five pages long and encompass each and every one of leaders’ big goals for their companies’ futures. All areas of operation are addressed in this future-based brainstorm and leaders aren’t focusing on how it happened or the steps they took to achieve it – instead, they’re stating it as fact: “this happened.” This brainstorm is compiled into a formal document with three to four bullet points written down for each functional area of the company.
Implementing a Vivid Vision
After all ideas and future plans are jotted down, the document is typically brought to life by a professional writer and designer so that it looks, feels and sounds like your brand. Next, it’s shared with all employees, shareholders and relevant partners so that they can reverse engineer it to make it come true. Cameron says the best analogy of how Vivid Vision works in a practical sense is like building a home. In that instance, homeowners are the CEOs of the project that explain to contractors exactly what they wanted the house to look like, factors that are important to them and what the house will be used for. After that, the contractor returns with the plan, or blueprint, to make that vision come true. “Creating a Vivid Vision brings the future into the present, so we can have clarity on what we are building now,” Cameron shares on his website.
Like the idea of “keeping your eye on the prize,” this process aligns everyone toward achievable goals and sees the opportunity to contribute to making it a reality. “When employees see what the company will look like three years out, they are clearer on where they can step up and add value to growing it,” Cameron shares in Double Double. Helping bridge the gap between the now and the not-so-distant future, Cameron views three years as the ideal period of time to cover when planning a Vivid Vision because it’s short enough to be realistic and long enough for innovation to occur.
Evaluating a Vivid Vision
When Orange Label initially went through the process of completing a Vivid Vision, each partner including CEO Wes Phillips, COO Debbie Nagel and President Rochelle Reiter, shared their dream for the company which was then compiled into one vision. Focusing on the tie in between the personal and professional aspects of life and how they can affect one another in a purposeful manner, the team adapted the strategy to write a personal Vivid Vision as well. “I did a deep dive over four days and produced my own Vivid Vision. This investment in myself had a positive impact on my work with my business partners in creating our initial Vivid Vision,” Wes shares. “I recommend that other business leaders consider preparing two Vivid Visions (one personal and one professional).”
Speaking candidly, Wes shares that ahead of the first Vivid Vision he did feel apprehensive and he waved away one sabotaging thought: What happens if in three years the entire Vivid Vision has not been realized? He discovered, however, that the value is the purpose, context and direction it provides and fully immersed himself in the process. “What I have learned is that the Vivid Vision is a journey and that the clarity of ‘purpose’ allows for velocity in achievement, growth, and fulfillment,” Wes explains.
Making Vivid Vision Your Own
When the idea for Vivid Vision first began to percolate in Cameron’s mind in 1998, it was in the context of olympic athletes and how deeply focused they were in picturing themselves achieving their goal – such as perfectly pole vaulting over an untouchable bar moments before making it a reality. Inspired to use the concept of “leaning into the future” in the business world, Vivid Vision is known and utilized across the globe and in Orange County, California our marketing agency has brought it to life in ways that – you guessed it – are creative.
“Once we articulated all of the ideas for our first Vivid Vision, we had a team meeting where everyone drew pictures on a whiteboard of what the vision meant to them. We had our designer bring those individual photos to life in a colorful design,” Rochelle says. If you came to our office when it was located in Newport Beach, those designs greeted you at the front entry. What a way to keep our Vivid Vision top of mind to not only the Orange Label team, but to our clients and anyone who entered our agency’s doors. “The second time we put together our vision, we created a video. The voiceover was done by team members, each taking a specific part,” Rochelle says
Recently, COO Debbie was asked to share the video concept in her Vistage group. “Reactions always include ‘wow!’ then ‘how?’ and, finally, ‘that must have taken a lot of time to develop.’ I explain that we chose to take what we learned from Cameron years ago and put it into practice,” Debbie says. “I believe the Vivid Vision is our road map of where we are, and where we are going that gives us focus and purpose.”
As for the third Vivid Vision? We’re on a mission to make it even better than years’ past. Sign up for The 19 podcast updates below so you don’t miss our exclusive interview with Cameron Herold himself.