In the spirit of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we invited Strategic Coach clients to share their secrets to success. The first in the series is written by Stefan Wissenbach, Founder and Chief Engagement Officer of Engagement Multiplier, based in London and Chicago.
As an entrepreneur, I realized early on that when you have a clear vision of your future, magic starts to happen.
Having a clear vision builds momentum and helps you make really smart decisions and take the right actions to get where you want to be. Indeed, I believe that thinking about and envisioning your future is the way to unleash and achieve your greatest potential.
For me, having a vision means creating a reference for what something looks like when it’s done, and then putting a clear purpose behind it that’s so much deeper than just profit numbers.
I recognized, too, that for any entrepreneur to be successful, they need to have a big vision they can be really excited about—one that makes them leap out of bed like a salmon in the morning! All the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met have a really big vision. And they’re able to flip from big-vision thinking into meaningful action.
Now, once you’ve got this big vision, how do you stay connected to it?
For me, personally, it was about creating a vision that really inspired me, and then distilling that down into a meaningful purpose. This became my company, Engagement Multiplier.
My vision is to help 100 million people become measurably more engaged.
That’s a big number—and, no, I’m not sitting on a cloud getting a wet bottom! I wholeheartedly believe it’s achievable. What’s more, I get really excited by it. I say it, I think it, I’m connected to it, and that makes it much easier to stay inspired when the going gets tough—which, at times, it does.
In any entrepreneurial journey, there are going to be highs and lows. But when you’ve got clarity on the vision you’re aspiring to, the lows are easier to handle. That big vision keeps you focused, motivated, and determined to overcome the inevitable barriers that we all encounter as we break new ground. When you’re really connected to your vision, you don’t see barriers as problems; they just become challenges that help you raise your game and be stronger when you’re on the other side.
No really successful entrepreneurial journey can ever be completed single-handedly. And even if it were possible, it would be a lonely one. I, like every other successful entrepreneur I’ve met, need a team around me to help turn my vision into a reality. In my case, that’s a team of people who are just as passionate about the transformational impact of improved engagement on individuals and organizations as I am.
So, once you’ve found a way to stay connected to your vision, the question then becomes, how do you connect your team to your vision?
People want to work in an organization where there’s leadership that has a really big vision, is clear on that vision, has a plan that supports it, and is going to take the organization from where it is now to a much higher level. As the leader, you’ve got to keep your own mojo up and keep your passion going, and you have to make this visible to your team. My grandfather once said to me, “Stefan, the fish rots from the head.” If you as the entrepreneur are not showing your ongoing passion for what you’re seeking to achieve, then you can’t expect your team to either.
Being able to articulate your organization’s vision clearly is what motivates and aligns team performance. This connection with your team is created through an Engaged Purpose.
An Engaged Purpose is a written statement that clearly communicates to your team what your company does and why. It details the transformation you’re trying to create and provides a structure that will inspire your team to align their daily activities with your company’s larger aspirations. When you create a big enough “why” for people, they will become emotionally involved in finding a “how.”
Keeping your passion, enthusiasm, belief, and Engaged Purpose front of mind is the way to get your team on board, connected, and supporting you every day to achieve your vision.
And then you’ve got to find out who’s on the bus and who’s not.
I’ve been very fortunate over the years. I’ve been able to build and sell a number of companies. I consult now with successful entrepreneurs in the UK and, through our online platform Engagement Multiplier, I help businesses all over the world become measurably more engaged.
I still have a ways to go to before I can say I’ve helped 100 million people become measurably more Engaged—either through Engagement Multiplier, my speaking engagements, my books, or my day-to-day interactions with the people I meet (every single one counts toward my goal!). But I will get there.
And it all started with a vision supported by a purpose.