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Is Your End in Your Mind?

At the end of 2021…or 2031, how will you know if you succeeded? What are you using as a yardstick for success in your business?



Dr. Stephen R. Covey in, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, called his second habit, Begin With the End in Mind. Core to this habit is the premise that effective people create things twice;

  • Mental Creation

  • Physical Creation

How does this apply to you and your business?

If you have ever read a book on business building, you know you need a company vision. Why do they all say that?

Your Company Vision is the mental creation that Covey is talking about. Creating a business vision forces you to begin with the end in mind; it expresses what you’re intending to build and under what conditions.

Only after you have completed the mental creation, your company vision, can you effectively focus on the physical creation – that’s doing the work to actually build your business.

If you have an actionable company vision, congratulations! You’re in a select group.

Unfortunately, I see too many business owners start with the physical creation--building their business--before they have a clear, documented picture of where they want to end up—what success looks like for them.

That’s why I work with all my clients to build their company vision using the framework presented by James Collins and Jerry Porras in Chapter 11 of their classic book Built to Last.

The Collins-Porras framework has two balancing components called Core Ideology and Envisioned Future.

Your Core Ideology - acts as guard rails to keep your business on track and staying authentic as it grows; it’s comprised of two elements:

  1. Your business’ most fundamental reason for existenceCore Purpose

  2. Your set of guiding principles, what you stand for Core Values

Your Envisioned Future - describes in vivid detail what you want to become and what you want to create; it’s comprised of two elements as well:

  1. A business goal that will take you 10-30 years of effort to complete with 50-70% probability of success -- BHAG® (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

  2. A vibrant, engaging and specific description of what it will look like to achieve your BHAG® -- Vivid Description

I highly recommend in addition to their book, you take look at Collins’ and Porras’ Harvard Business Review Article. You will find an additional very helpful Vision Framework resource on Jim Collins’ web site.


Doing this work now is very important given the impact COVID-19 has had on many industry sectors.

  • Are there changes you want to make to your company’s vision as a result of the pandemic?

  • Are there things you wanted to be part of your business’ future that are no longer even possible because of the new normal in your industry?

Do you know a business owner that needs to build or re-build their company vision? Feel free to share this post.

BTW: I am not associated with Covey or Collins & Porras; I recommend their materials because they have worked for my clients.

BHAG® is a registered trademark of Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.

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