How to Create a Vision and Build a Roadmap for Success

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—“ said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,’”Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Organizations that last know where they’re going. They know how they want people to perceive their business and they know what they want to achieve.

In short, they have a strong vision.

Creating a strong vision is a key to long-term success: it gives you clarity on what you should and shouldn’t do for the continuing health and prosperity of the company.

The vision, however, is only one of the keys to success, you must also have a purpose that drives the vision; and, you must have missions, strategies, and tactics to achieve your vision.


A company’s purpose is the fuel for the business. It’s the reason for the company to exist. It’s why you do what you do.

It’s the why behind the vision.

A purpose must have longevity. It’s not something that changes. It’s not what you’re excited about: excitement fades. Purpose carries you unwavering and committed through the high points and difficult times.

Your business’s purpose should be what you’re most passionate about—what you’d do in spite of any difficulty.

Your purpose gives you a certain view of the world: it means you believe the world should be one way and not another way. It places you at one end of a value dichotomy and makes the other end the enemy of your business.

How To Find Your Purpose:

  1. Gather together your executive team and come up with a list of things you stand for and what they mean you stand against.
  2. Eliminate everything that your organization would not be passionate about.
  3. See if there are any overarching values—ones that encapsulate others.
  4. If your business has been around for awhile, run surveys across the organization to see which ones resonate most with people. Also see if there are any you may have missed: sometimes the best ideas come from unlikely places.
  5. Consider which ones have the most legs: remember your purpose isn’t ever going to change and it’s going to fuel your business.
  6. Decide on one all members of the executive team can be passionate about and that fits best with the organization. Don’t put this to a vote, all leaders must be on board since it will influence all decision-making.


Your vision is what you want your organization to become and how you want to influence the world in a way that aligns with your purpose.

A vision will give clarity to your decisions: it’ll make it easier to decide what you should and shouldn’t do.

It can free up employees’ time: anything that doesn’t push your organization closer to the vision can be eliminated.

It’ll prevent you from making short-term decisions that lead to immediate growth but may harm the business in the long-term.

A strong vision attracts passionate customers and employees: ones who share your purpose and believe the world should be the same way you do.

A vision isn’t something that should change in your lifetime. It may change in the distant future if the company completely fulfills it. Then, it should become a bigger version of itself.

A vision is the basis for creating a legacy for you and your company.

How to Create Your Vision:

  1. Gather your executive team to discuss your vision, taking into account your purpose.
  2. Although we use several exercises when we create visions with clients, the single best exercise we’ve found is: Have everyone imagine that 100 years in the future, the company is no longer in business, and then have everyone write a eulogy to the company–what they want the company’s legacy to be.
  3. Have everyone share their eulogy and capture everyone’s points.
  4. Look at the list and see what would be missed the most. Those things that will be missed the most are key ingredients in creating a vision. They indicate passion and they will best fuel the company’s motivation to fulfill the vision.
  5. Work together to create a succinct vision that is easy to recite and is something that can act as a north star to point the direction for every department in the company. This last part is key: if the vision doesn’t work for every department, then one department won’t work in service of the greater vision, creating a dysfunctional organization.
  6. Remember: the vision isn’t something that should change in your lifetime.


We use the term mission differently than other companies we’ve found. Other companies use it to mean their current driving purpose. But we believe purpose shouldn’t change and the word mission implies something that has an endpoint.  

We use the term mission to refer to the current, overarching goal for a department or group of departments.

One group of people, like a battalion, can only have one mission at a time. It’s something that should be a big goal that will take a lot of steps to complete. It must encapsulate everything a department or group of departments is involved in at the moment.

An organization, like an army, can have multiple missions at the same time, as long as each group is focused on only one mission.

Missions are things that can fill up quarters or even years.

How to Decide on Your Missions

  1. Gather your executive team to discuss what the big issues are that need to be overcome to move the organization closer to the vision. These could be external or internal.
  2. Don’t automatically go for the low-hanging fruit. Often, the low-hanging fruit can be encapsulated in a larger mission.
  3. Think big when you decide your missions and make sure they tie into your purpose and vision. They should keep you busy for awhile and be something you’ll be constantly motivated to complete.
  4. Come up with a series of mission statements that encapsulate what each mission will achieve in a succinct way that is easy to recite.
  5. Make sure you know which department or departments are in charge of each mission.
  6. Remember: people should be only working on one mission at a time, but the organization may have several missions going on simultaneously.


A strategy is how you’re going to achieve your mission.

Each mission will likely have several strategies that need to be executed to achieve the goal.

Strategies aren’t individual tasks, but groups of tasks. They’re the “hows” in achieving your mission.

Strategies are things that will likely take you months or quarters to fulfill.

How to Devise Your Strategies:

  1. Have the leaders in each department or departments involved in a mission get together and think about what it will take to get them there.
  2. What are the major things that need to get accomplished in order to complete your mission? Think in terms of how you’re going to get there.
  3. You’re likely to come up with smaller tasks. That’s okay: set them aside for when you’re considering tactics—the next step—and keep the focus on the how rather than the what.
  4. List all the strategies that you will need to execute to fulfill the mission.
  5. Determine which members of the group will take ownership of each strategy.
  6. Review them to make sure they’re all essential. Often, some of the strategies can be eliminated because they don’t really contribute to the mission.


Tactics are the individual tasks that you need to complete. They’re the “whats” behind the “how” of the strategy.

You’re likely to have a lot of these: if your mission is as big as it should be, there will be a lot to do.

Tactics should help you create your timelines: the amount of time it takes to complete a tactic will influence the time it takes to complete each higher-level goal.

Tactics should take weeks or months.

How to Plan Your Tactics:

  1. Gather together the whole group responsible for each strategy. Have them list all the things that need to happen to execute the strategy.
  2. See if any can be eliminated: the ideal number of tactics is as little as possible for you to get you where you need to go. Nothing should be done because you feel like it; it must serve the strategy.

Putting It All Together

When you finish, you should be able to produce a roadmap for the business that has:

  • Purpose: What you stand for that will always motivate you. It forms the basis of the vision. It is owned by the company. The purpose is created by the executive team. The purpose never changes.
  • Vision: What you want the company to become and the purpose-driven change you want to create. It is owned by the company. The vision is created by the executive team. The vision shouldn’t change in your lifetime.
  • Missions: The current big goals that need to be accomplished to get you closer to your vision. Each department or group of departments has only one mission at a time. It is owned by a department or departments. The missions are created by the executive team. Missions come and go over the long-term.
  • Strategies: How you’re going to achieve your mission. Strategies are owned by individual teams. They are created by the leaders of the department or departments involved in the related mission. Strategies come and go over the medium-term.
  • Tactics: The individual tasks that you have to execute to get you where you need to go. These can be owned by a team or a subset of the team. They are created by the people responsible for the related strategy. Tactics come and go in the short-term.

As you create your roadmap, it’s likely that information you get as you go further down the hierarchy will force you to revise higher-level areas. That’s okay and is to be expected.

Periodically, you’ll also need to revise your missions when you complete them.

Be flexible: you may need to add or eliminate strategies or tasks as you work towards completing the mission. Things change and not everything can be foreseen. Keep the goal of the mission in mind when you make changes.

And, finally, remember that although a lot of the roadmap can be flexible, your destination—your purpose-fueled vision—should be something that should last far into the future and help you build a legacy.

Onward to your destination.

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