Making cake > eating cake
Why the process of developing a vision or strategy matters more than the artifact
You can buy a cake for your kid's birthday party. But it will never be the same as a homemade cake that mom or dad or grandma made just for them.
Not even close.
In the same way, you can hire lots of people to create your strategy or vision for your company. And it will probably be very well made!
But it won't be *yours*.
When most people think about strategy or vision, they imagine the end state — up on stage or in front of the room, sharing this inspiring vision and a compelling plan for achieving it. The team alignment, the collective buy-in and inspiration.
They think about the slick demo video, or the storyboard they can show people that will make their eyes light up.
For most people, it's all about artifacts.
This is obsessing about cake while forgetting about baking.
A few days ago, I shared the high level process involved in developing a product vision or strategy.
I was just chatting with a CEO I'm supporting through this very process and we realized that actually the most important part of this process is *not* the vision artifacts that will come out the other end.
It's what the shared creation process does to the leaders that go through it.
Because that CEO and leadership team are going through the process of building this new vision together, they are changed by it.
They will have this vision in their bones, not just as an artifact in their hands. And because of that, they'll each and all own the vision, internalize it, and be able to convey it to others in a compelling way—regardless of what artifact(s) they have at hand, or don't.
Slide decks, storyboards, videos, and all the other cool artifacts will *enhance* their story, but their ability to tell a great story will no longer depend on the artifacts.
If a leader outsources the vision & story development process, they'll never really have it in their bones.
Because they won’t have the story in their bones, they won't connect and deeply resonate with it themselves.
Because they won't passionately resonate with it themselves, they will be unable to transmit it to others.
You can’t give what you don’t have.