Episode 10 – The Vision Driven Leader

Author: Michael Hyatt

Who is Michael Hyatt?

Michael Hyatt is a leadership expert who has published a number of New York bestsellers. CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company, a leadership development firm helping successful, but overwhelmed leaders focus so they win at work and succeed at life.

Book: The Vision Driven Leader

Find it on Amazon HERE


The Vision Driven Leader


Hyatt dispels the 10 essential questions that an aspiring leader needs to ask in order to develop an effective and compelling vision that will lead their life, business or organisation to succeed in whatever endeavour they choose as follows:

Question 1 Are you a leader or a manager?

Question 2 What difference does vision make?

Question 3 What do you want?

Question 4 Is it clear?

Question 5 Does it inspire?

Question 6 Is it practical?

Question 7 Can you sell it?

Question 8 How should you face resistance?

Question 9 Is it too late?

Question 10 Are you ready?


In Part 1 (Questions 1 & 2) Hyatt makes a compelling argument for why vision drives everything and is the necessary element for success in just about any endeavour you can think of.

I have come across this before, noting that the vision is the what and when you know your what then you can be flexible on how you get there, but it’s important to know what you are trying to achieve from the outset so you can focus based on the direction you are pointing and the goals you are trying to achieve.

As Hyatt states, it is important that a vision is the next and not the now. It’s about where you are going, the unachieved, the unattained.

How do you cultivate a compelling and effective vision?

In Part 2 Hyatt provides practical tips and strategies for how to cultivate and develop a vision script by focusing on what you want and then testing it through a series of tests to ensure it is durable, sellable, indestructible.

He finishes with working through how to stay on track and keep the vision alive in Part 3 (Questions 8 to 10).

Check out our favourite tips and strategies from the book below:

All vision starts with desire.

What is the difference between mission and vision? They both inform strategy but in different ways.

  • Mission provides day to day clarity by defining the identity and scope of the business. Without a clear mission you could veer off target and head off into too many different directions or the wrong direction. An effective mission statement keeps you on task by answering 4 questions:
    • Who are we?
    • Who do we serve?
    • What problem do we solve?
    • What transformation do we offer?

The answer to these 4 questions defines your identity, your clientele and your answer to your customers challenges and the results you produce.

A mission describes what a business is.

A vision describes where it is going.

Mission is here, vision is still out there. Mission is now, vision is next.

  • Where do we want to take this thing?
  • What do we really want?

Mission-Vision Differential

Mission is about…Vision is about….
hereout there

Mission should fit on a t-shirt.

Vision robust document that describes your future… 3-5 years. Step into the future and describe what you see in 4 key areas of your business:

  • Your team
  • Products
  • Sales & marketing
  • Impact

What do you want for your future??

Every statement about the future tells us about how we are performing in the present and influences what we do next.

The Future of Your Team

It’s important to start your vision script with your team. The right team will enable you as the leader to focus on what you do best. They will execute strategy, take care of your customers and cultivate new ones. The right team will blow you away with their ideas, skill and know how.

What does the ideal team look like to you three years out? How does your organisation take care of them and cultivate a winning culture?

Convey enough detail so that other people can see what you see – so together you can build it.

When you imagine your team 3 years out, what do you see?

  • In terms of their talents, 
  • Skills
  • Work-life balance

What do you provide in relation to benefits, lifestyle?

Ex. “our team mates live and breathe our ideology. Our team are free to execute their talents without management breathing down their neck. We encourage innovation and experimentation  – if something doesn’t work we learn and move on.”

What do you want the future to look like for you and your team? Where do you want to take this thing? What did we really want?

Make a plan for the next 3-5 years in the following areas:

  • Your team;
  • Products;
  • Sales & marketing; and
  • Impact.

Vision script…every vision statement tells us about how we are performing in the present and influences what we do next.

The future of your TEAM

Your team makes everything else possible. The RIGHT team makes it possible for you the leader to focus on what you do best. They will execute strategy, take care of your customers,  and cultivate new ones.

The right team will blow you away with their ideas, ambitions, skills and know how. 

What does the ideal team look like to you three years out?

Convey enough detail so you can clearly explain it to others and they can see what you see so you can together build it. When you imagine your team 3 years out – what do you see? In terms of their TALENTS, EXPERIENCE, and Worklife balance. What do you offer in terms of benefits, incentives, opportunities for growth?

Eg. “Our teammates live and breathe our core values and ideology. They possess impeccable character, extraordinary talent and proven track records.

Our employees demonstrate reasonable autonomy in executing and planning their own work without the impediment of overbearing management, stifling bureaucracy or procedural red tape.

We encourage innovation and experimentation. If something doesn’t work we learn from it and move on.”

The future of your products

What are the products or the services you offer?

Eg. “We create products that enable leaders to get the focus they need to win at work and succeed at life”

“We create products that delight our customers, exceed their expectations and deliver dramatic transformation”

Vision is about next not now… the future vision creates a measuring stick for the present but also superior to the present.

You’re not there yet.

“Our ultimate product is not our information or tools but the transformation our customers experience when using them”….

“We routinely say no to distractions masquerading as opportunities”

“We employ stable and talented speakers, coaches and podcasters”

The future of your sales and marketing

Think broadly and philosophically about your marketing… this is fundamentally about how you relate to your customers.

“We employ customer acquisition strategies that make our offers irresistible” 

“We understand that our customers and clients are the REAL HEROES and we serve as a guide that helps them overcome their obstacles and achieve their desired transformation”

WHAT IS YOUR IMPACT – the future of your impact

Finally – your vision script should describe the intended outcome of your service/product. What is the result of realising your vision?

Financial impact or reach, influence or something less tangible

“As a result we are transforming our world and achieving outstanding results”

Key financial metrics “we have achieved these outstanding results without compromising our team, values or our culture”.


What if my business is driven by something outside of these key areas? Add what is essential to your business. 

How to write your own…

Dedicate time and focus – WHAT DO YOU WANT? Time and focus. Stick with it until you are on point.

“Homo-prospectus” we thrive from considering our prospects…


You’re trying to paint an inspiring, clear, attractive picture of your organisation’s future – nothing else. It’s not about setting strategy…

  1. Get away and clear your head

Get alone with your own thoughts… Find solitary place away from the office. Unplug from the constant and get in touch with your thoughts. 

  1. Believe the best is yet to come

We are conditioned to think about limits/constraints. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. We tend to experience what we expect. We create defences that block our progress. 

Part of being clear about the future is being honest about the past and the present and how they are influencing our view of what is possible in the future.

Two feats at once. Total honesty about the here and now and commitment to the belief that it can be better. Far better.


“Everything is broken”….

  1. Imagine your future, describe what you see.

The future takes shape of choices today. Write in present tense as though your vision has already has happened.


“Nelson books publishes 7 new york times best seller books each year. We sell 10 books that sell over 100,000 units per year. We have great relationships with the authors and the agents and we have a staff of extremely talented and extremely committed people”.

To get started ask yourself a number of probing questions as follows:

What needs to change in our business model so that my team doesn’t burn out or leave?

What kind of authors or list of titles do we need to attract to minimise the turn and maximise our profitability?

How would our organisation stack up against competitors in the market place?

What kind of organisations or processes could we invent that would help our business scale faster?

What interests, concerns or excites you. Do the oracles job for them… what will your business look like in 3 years? How can we become the business that might put us out of business in 3 years? Why would it have a competitive advantage?

Who do we want our customers to become?

Who are you spending time with, where are you travelling, what are you reading?

A vision should be something that personally motivates and interests you. Let your curiosity pull you along… that is what it is for.

The vision scripter. Visiondrivenleader.com

Don’t get hung up on “how” you will achieve your 

Questions to ask yourself:

In 3-5 years 


What kind of teammates do you want to attract?

What characteristics do they all share in common?

How do they work? What is their work ethic?

What do you do to attract top talent?

What is your compensation philosophy?

What does your benefits package look like?

Why are prospective employees attracted to your company?

What makes people beg to join your company?

What does your office environment look like?

Why does that matter to you?


What results do your products create?

What value do they deliver?

Who do your products help?

How do your customers feel when they use your products?

What’s the user experience like?

What is the production creation process look like?

How do you choose what to offer?

What makes your products superior to those of your competitors?


What markets do you serve?

How large is your customer base?

How do you reach them? How much does it cost you to acquire new customers?

What is your cost per lead? What is the lifetime value of your customer?

How do you see your marketing, sales, and customer experience operate?

What’s their role in customer retention and acquisition?


What are your results? What is your revenue? Profit? Staff count or size of your 

What financial thresholds excite you as the leader? What do you wish to make free/how do you want to spend your time as the leader? What do you see as your role? How will the growth of your organisation impact you and your team?

How will the industry competitors think of you?

The complexity of your business….may need you to look beyond 3-5 years.

Describe your vision in as much detail as possible.

Read your vision daily. When you are clear in what you want – you capitalise. You tend to filter  out opportunities that deter you. Because of your focus and alignment you …

Vision is essential to leadership. He thought it would take 3 years to reach his vision and it was achieved in just 18 months…


Make your vision concrete and compelling and others will join you to make it a reality.

Vision script is wet cement – lets refine it so it is clear:

Is it clear?  – every vision script looks different depending on the leader that creates it. Write your vision script in whatever style:

  1. Flows most naturally; and
  2. Helps you sell your vision to your team, etc.

Is it clear? Make it concrete. A good leader thinks in shades of grey and speaks in black and white.


Vision grid – 


Quadrant 1 – abstract and implicit. Never completely externalised – foggy. Don’t know what direction.

Quadrant 2 – abstract & explicit – enthusiastic – but has clearly/tangibly expressed what saying

Quadrant 3 – Concrete and Implicit – still not solidly expressed to everyone else…

Quadrant 4 – Concrete & Explicit – a well written vision script can help with. The leader has a well developed concrete vision for the future and has clearly expressed this and articulated it to the team in precise unambiguous language – this allows the team to develop strategies, goals, tasks to execute vision. More than that they can get a sense of the passion and the purpose behind it all – clarity creates connection. There is nothing more satifying than proceeding with confidence. Knowing your team is aligned and passionate about the future because your vision is CLEAR. So – how do you gain clarity??

5 steps to gain clarity:

  1. ADMIT that you are unclear. You want to project confidence even when you don’t feel it…so it’s hard to admit we are missing something.  BUT this is the first step.
  2. Recognise your blinders. Ignorance, lack of curiosity, over confidence, cognitive biases, time constraints and fear (karen martin’s 6 issues that hold leaders back)… It takes some self-reflection to see if any of these are present.
  3. Ask for input. Without counsel many plans fail but with many advisors many plans succeed. Spouses, mentors, industry coaches, your team, etc. Ask them what they think – you’re not alone.
  4. Process the feedback. Getting alone, reflecting and journaling. Including core members of your team, review the work together.
  5. JUST START – it’s important to get moving. If you can’t read a sign you have several options – scrunch up your eyes, look at it from a different angle, buy high powered glasses or ask a friend to read it for you. The easiest way to get clarity is to just move closer to the sign. Taking steps forward can bring things into focus. Dont expect a vision to come … patient persistence is key. Vision is a habit, a process…. 

The road ahead….

Is your vision clear? In order to be a good leader it is important to have clarity of vision so your company can survive and thrive  – a vision that not only expresses what you want but is also concrete & explicit.

With that level of clarity (clarity without inspiration leads to boredom and disinterest) and inspiration without clarity leads to excitement without direction.

Inspiration is what we will explore in next question:


“Moved people move people” 

It’s not enough to have a vision and its not enough that your vision is clear.

For a vision to be effective it must be powerful enough to shake off complacency and replace it with the motivation to take action. Unless your vision script ignites hearts, minds, passion, and creativity you won’t attract the talent or the buy in from your team necessary to reach your destination. Your customers won’t buy into it either and you will forego the impact and contribution that you might otherwise have on the world stage.

A vision that fails to inspire will surely expire.

Does your vision inspire? There are 4 characteristics to ensure it does:

  1. It focuses on what isn’t, not what is. 
  2. It’s exponential, not incremental.
  3. It’s risky, not stupid.
  4. It’s focused on what, not how.

If your vision for tomorrow is more or less than your vision today – it fails.


What isn’t, not what is.

What isn’t… eg. uber. Don’t look at what exists – focus on what you do differently. What is unique – what if we found a way to make the whole process easier… everything is obvious once you know the answer.

Step out into the future and envision what could be …. 70% market share. 72 Billion dollars value – UBER.

Make it BIG.

Exponential, not incremental.

Eg. iphone. Got rid of physical keys & replaced with virtual keys – creating more space for a bigger/better device.

The industry were very sceptical. 

Risky, not stupid.

Physical paper planner… paper planner….

Are you likely to fail?

Does your team believe in it? 

Does the plan impale your business?

What, not how.

Malala only needed us to yearn for justice, equality. Vision and strategy are important but vision.

By finding your what people find their why. Give yourself permission to imagine the ideal future without worrying about how you will get there.

Changing the script…. 

QUESTION 6: is it practical?

Hyatt suggests 10 annual goals, break this down into quarterly objectives and then weekly goals of no more than 3-5 … then daily tasks.

Vision is fixed, strategy is malleable.

Stay connected with the vision and allow strategy to evolve and flex. The vision is everything  how you get there may change.

The vision strategy differential

The vision stays the same the strategy changes… no plan of operations survives beyond the first task.

The commander and chief will always focus on objectives and be ready to make changes.

Vision isn’t protect 

The way to achieve our goals us holding tight to your vision and loosely to your strategy. 

Meaning & purpose in the workforce.

Compelling vision script will compel people….

What kind if people do you need on your team?? 

  • Teammates live & breathe values… 
  • Humble confident 

The vision becomes the benchmark, keeping the vision script in the forefront of your mind… 

-do they embrace your vision

-can they help you achieve your vision..

Diversity enhances a teams ability to solve problems… 

The visibility problem

Research shows 4/10 staff members really knew what the vision of the organisation was… 

All team members need to be on board, enrolling your team.


Can you sell it to 4 key stakeholders… leadership, staff, external stakeholders… 

Can you sell your vision script? 

Others that need to be involved feel some ownership. You want input, validation, buy in.

Why us the new vision good for them? Why should we care? 


To secure approval or buy in from those who count:

  1. Start with the conclusion. Much easier for buyer to concentrate if they know what you want upfront.
  2. Provide the background. Be brief. Provide only the background necessary for them to make an intelligent decision.
  3. Provide the rationale. 3-5 key reasons why your client should accept your recommendation. This should include both why they should agree as well as the consequences of not doing it.
  4. Establish a timetable. How long will implementation take if approved. If in phases, briefly outline the key milestones – over deliver.
  5. State financial impact. Both as a cost or as a necessary investment  and the return on investment. Be clear, shoot straight, don’t downplay the costs or hype the benefits.
  6. Anticipate objections – this is where the battle is won or lost. Think of every objection your receiver could possibly ask – don’t risk getting a ‘no’ because you haven’t asked the honest questions. Address the elephant in the room.
  7. Make the pitch – maintain eye contact.

Next week we are looking at SELF-DISCIPLINE! Stay tuned…

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