Here’s a business experience I’ll never forget…
It was shortly after my agency was acquired by what later became Tier 11 (it didn’t have a name at the time, that’s a story for another time).
We were working on a partnership opportunity that could have exploded our agency, and we had a pivotal meeting coming up to align strategy to make the most of this opportunity.
Our agency leadership team, three of us at the time, prepared in the weeks leading up to the meeting.
Then we all flew out to the west coast.
The meeting was at this incredible spot right on Lake Washington. You could see Mount Rainier towering in the background, and we actually met right out on the dock next to the crisp, clear water.
What a setting to craft the next level of growth with a new partner!
But it didn’t go as planned…
In fact, it wound up being one of the WORST wastes of time in my professional life.
It was so bad that all these years later we still jokingly refer to it as “The Mistake By The Lake.”
This week I met up with an old friend who was at that meeting. He worked for the potential partner company at the time. And although our agency and the potential partner business were about the same size at the time of the meeting…
Over the next few years they would diverge dramatically.
Our agency flourished. The team grew to over 50 people, revenue grew by many multiples.
The potential partner floundered. Paychecks were late (or missing). Team members drifted away. It shrank.
The biggest difference maker
I could go on and on about all the little differences that caused such dramatically different futures. But I want to focus today on the foundation.
Clarity of Vision & Purpose
I mentioned this earlier – my team prepared for this meeting. For the weeks leading up to it we met and carefully planned what we wanted our future to look like, how our new partner could help us bring that to life faster, and how what we could contribute to the partnership ourselves.
The partners preparation? Zero. In fact, we spent much of the meeting trying to draw out what they even wanted to create. It was a total mess.
Proverbs 29 says, “Where there is no VISION the people PERISH.”
Part of being a great leader is providing vision. Your job as a leader is to stand up, point to the horizon, and remind people (over and over) “We’re going THERE. Follow me!”
When I see businesses who are stuck…
Often one of the problems is vision.
- No vision (let’s do whatever to make money)
- Fuzzy vision
- Vision that changes often
If you want to build something bigger than yourself, and enjoy the fruits of a high performance team continually moving your vision forward…
Then a crucial part of your role is to craft a clear vision. Then stand up every chance you get, point to the horizon, and remind people where we’re going.
The rest is details.