I just finished a short book by Bob Rotella, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, which may be the best business book I read in the last three years. Dr. Rotella is a sports psychologist who has worked with some of the top professional golfers and some of the top sports figures too. Every important point made in this short book is applicable to running a business and, I might add, improving your life.
Today, let’s just take one of those points... working on vision. Many of the Executives I work with have a hard time with vision. It is too soft for them and I often hear them complain about working on vision as something that business professors think is important and its just not what real business is about.
Rotella presents vision in a simple direct and accessible way. Essentially, he is saying, you need to be specific about what you want to create (in business, vision is about creating something that does not yet exist). The more specific you can get, the more likely you will hit your target. His second point is that you must find a way to viscerally feel the steps that will accomplish the vision.
Rotella urges golfers to see exactly where the ball is going to end up, be able to watch (in your head) the flight path of the ball. He then provides a couple of anecdotes about how to bring in other senses to add to the concreteness of what you feel.
He mentions a renowned player who tells Rotella about the player’s method for staying loose and focused: First, choose the club you want, shrug your shoulders to loosen your muscles and then imagine/feel the time when you hit that club the best you ever hit it (all of us who golf know that time when we hit an effortless, smooth and magical shot with a certain club).
So, working on your business vision, can you see, feel, taste and hear the vision you want to create? Are you able to make it specific, the more specific the better?
Now here is something that Rotella does not address (after all, golf is a one person game, rather than a team effort): Are you able to communicate that vision to a variety of people in a way that communicates the feelings and magic about your vision? Are others around you excited by what you want to create? If not, why not? How do you create this kind of excitement?
The earlier you are in your company’s development, the more likely you have people around you who believe in you and/or your vision. Ask them to answer a few questions: First, is it you or your vision that creates excitement? If its not your vision, ask them how big the vision is? What would make it bigger? What would make it more specific? How would their life be different if the vision came to pass? What would they need to see/feel/hear/taste/smell for the vision to be really visceral/specific? Now you can begin to work on your vision and get further feedback as you go. Have fun.