“Vision” is the ability to talk about the future with such clarity it is as if we are talking about the past. – Simon Sinek

We all know having a clear image of our goal, a vision, is important.

But what exactly is vision?

What are the key ingredients of vision?

Everybody has a different take on what vision is exactly. Jim Collins, author of the business classic Built to Last, defines vision as:

A well-conceived vision consists of two major components – core ideology and an envisioned future. Notice the direct parallel to the fundamental “persevere the core/stimulate progress” dynamic. A good vision builds on the interplay between these two complementary yin-and-yang forces: it defines “what we stand for and why we exist” that does not change (the core ideology) and sets forth “what we aspire to become, to achieve, to create” that will require significant change and progress to attain (the envisioned future).

Ken Blanchard, author of another business classic Full Steam Ahead! Unleash the Power of Vision in Your Work and Your Life, explains:

The three key elements of a compelling vision: Significant Purpose, Clear Values, A Picture of the Future.

These business definitions might feel complicated, so let’s take a look at the dictionary definition:

vision  noun  vi·​sion | \ˈvi-zhən \

The act or power of seeing.

– Merriam-Webster


In other words, in the simplest terms, vision is what you see if you travelled to the future. The phrase, picture of the future, expresses this well.



The Three Elements of a Picture of the Future

As part of my work as a brand consultant, I had the opportunity to study vision statements as well as helping companies formulate their vision.

I’ve observed that a picture of the future can contain all or some of the following parts:

  1. What do you aspire to be?
  2. How will who your serve (the customer) change or transform as a result of what you do?
  3. How will the world, which you and your customer live in, change due to what you do?

So to have a comprehensive picture of the future, these are the three elements to think about and clarify.


On that note, I end with a question for you.

What does your picture of the future look like?