From vision to action

Have you ever “lost” a great idea? Have you ever been disappointed by “missed beginnings”?

Have you ever “lost” a great idea? Have you ever been disappointed by “missed beginnings”? Most of us remember times when our answer would be “yes!” Inadequate planning and faulty execution are often the cause. What can you do to avoid these pitfalls?

If you have been following the advice in my articles during the past three months, a new beginning approaches. Through connection to your core values and purpose, you have laid a solid foundation for unleashing your potential. Your vision - that target that beckons - holds the promise of making tomorrow better than today. What you do now will determine whether your efforts will create a “hit” or a “miss.” Your next challenge is to answer the fourth of “The Four Essential Questions” - How will I get there? The time has come to turn your vision into reality and get things done!

Revisit your vision

Just as you cannot fill a canvas with one brush stroke, you cannot implement your vision with one step. It must be done in stages. Begin by revisiting all the vision categories you wrote about last month. Reflect on the various pictures of your future that you painted. Which ones generate the strongest passion? Which ones excite you? Which will provide the greatest payback to you and to others? Use these criteria to determine which elements of your vision to implement first. When you have converted this first part of your dream into reality, return to these criteria to identify your next areas for focus.

Plan to succeed

With a plan, you are in control. Without a plan, outside forces control you. Use this model to guide you through an effective planning process for each element of your vision.

State your goal: Define what you want to accomplish. Be specific. Be realistic. Your goal may take you outside your comfort zone, but you must believe it is achievable.

Define your outcomes: What outcomes do you desire from achieving your goal? How will you measure success in ways that are meaningful to you? Define what will be different and how you and others will benefit.

Prioritize your actions: To achieve your desired outcomes, what actions must you take? Because focus is essential, you must make choices. To keep the passion alive, build in the opportunity for “quick wins.” Thoughtfully prioritize your list, and select your top three action steps. Create a time line for each action. When one of these three steps is completed, add the next highest priority to your active list.

Evaluate your resources: What skills, attitudes, and behaviors can you rely on to achieve your goals? What other resources can you count on - i.e., people, financial, learning sources, etc? What resources must you acquire? What are your learning edges - i.e., the skills, attitudes, and behaviors you must develop?

Overcome the barriers: Your path to achievement will not be totally smooth. There will be barriers along the way that could inhibit your success. I call them “failure traps.” Don’t let these traps catch you by surprise. What are they? How will you eliminate or manage them?

Execute with discipline: Your plan by itself does not guarantee accomplishment of your goals. Missed beginnings can still occur. Executing your plan is the final step. Too many good plans get stuck in a drawer, never to surface again. Keep your plan alive by monitoring it. What has been accomplished? What is yet to be done? What has changed? What steps do you need to take to deal with the changes? Enter regular monitoring dates in your calendar. Share your plan and your progress with a friend or colleague. Ask this person to give you feedback and keep you on track.

Celebrate your successes

Celebrate your successes

Let’s be realistic. The journey from vision to action is hard work! It takes energy to plan and execute. To make your vision a reality, you must replace the energy you spend. One source of new energy is celebrating your successes. Reward yourself! Acknowledge your accomplishments. Getting excited about what you have done will keep you excited about what still lies ahead!

Doug Young, MBA, and his spouse Marlyn, MCC, have a professional speaking and executive/team coaching business in Parker, Colo. They co-author this column and share an interest in leading-edge business concepts, achieving personal and professional potential, serving patients, and improving how people work together. Marlyn’s insights into people and relationships and coaching skills complement Doug’s motivating and mind-expanding presentations. Contact them by e-mail at, by phone at 877-DMYOUNG (369-6864), or visit their Web site at

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