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Living the Strategic Plan

President's Message- "I Can See for Miles…and Miles…" (…or the Power of Vision)
By G.A. Taylor Fernley, President & CEO

Popularized by the singing group The Who in 1967, a visionary can in fact see "for miles ... and miles."

A visionary is often defined as a person with unusual foresight and the ability to anticipate things before they happen. You must also keep moving forward at all times. Like a high-profile coach, you are only as good as your last game. Once you've reached one set of goals, you need to formulate your plan for the next set of goals.

"It was logical for us. We were always looking for the next emerging technology," Jim McCann, speaking of moving his business to the internet."

Whenever we are in a position of leadership, we carry the responsibility of being a visionary, whether we like it or not.

Jim McCann, the Founder and CEO of 1-800Flowers.com started with one flower shop in New York City in 1976 and today he sells more than $700 million in flowers and gifts annually. He anticipated the demand for quality products that could be delivered anywhere in the country and made moves to put his business at the forefront of that trend. When buying shifted to online, he was once again "ahead of the curve." Jim had the uncanny knack of knowing which direction his industry was heading before everyone else, and addressed it head on.

Failing to be a visionary in today's competitive climate will, frankly speaking, put you out of business. Industry consolidation and other economic realities will "take out the weak" so we have to produce a service or product that people will want to buy and one that is clearly ahead of what others offer. How do you score on this front?

In the end, it's all about accountability and confidence in your vision. It doesn't matter whether you're running a $1 million company or a $1 billion company. If you don't have an honest vision and clear goals, it will be hard to retain your top people who will be the ones to help you carry out those visions and goals. They will see the company as stagnant and move on to more promising positions. It's about the morale of the people, whether your top performers are being rewarded, and whether everyone understands your long-term vision.

"Failing to be a visionary in today's competitive climate will, frankly speaking, put you out of business."

As the visionary in your organization, you have to keep everyone working towards each set of goals laid out. You have to put back into the business as much as you take out, both time and money.

It goes without saying that, - being a visionary is not easy. However, if you carefully define where you want to go and how you want to get there, you are already ahead of most of your competitors.