A vision funnel will keep you focused on converting the big picture things in your life, the things important to you because they are things God has called you to do, a vision funnel will help you convert your “big picture” into every day reality. In this episode we give the basics of using a vision funnel to move your big picture dreams into reality.
continue reading for the article / episode notes…
The Vision Funnel: Moving Your Big Picture to Reality
Last week we talked about the importance of routines. The things we do every day, that we don’t even really need to think about turn into things of significance. You can read the notes or listen to the episode 111.
As a part of episode 111, I mentioned the vision funnel and decided, and I’ve mentioned it a number of times in other episodes. It is one of those topics I was “saving” until I had written on the subject more and could make a deep investment in the topic—because I felt it was important and would help many leaders.
The Vision Funnel
The neck of a funnel does two things, it restricts and it focuses. I use a funnel to put gas in my lawnmower. It transitions the gasoline from a wide flow that catches it, into a narrow flow that puts it in the right place. If I pour the gas too quickly the funnel fills up and runs over the side, drenching the mower, which is what I was trying to avoid in the first place.
When it comes to strategies and ideas, if we do not focus them into actions, they remain dreams, hopes, and concepts, but they do not cause transformation.
Following is a simple funnel, and yes, I do want to write an ebook on the subject because I have steps and processes that work for me that I want to share, someday, but for now, in this podcast, we just want to talk through something that helps us focus.
By the way… if you go to visionfunnel.com, it will redirect you to this site. I’ve had it for a while because, when I do write that ebook, it will have a landing page, LOL. I own way too many URLs!
Spiritual, Strategic, Tactical, and Practical
It is important to understand these four elements of our vision path.
- The Spiritual is seeking the direction of God. Discerning and understanding what we feel God is saying to us. For a spiritual leader, this is where our vision comes from.
- The Strategic is the laying of plans to accomplish the vision. What are the methods we will employ? How will we communicate? What are the big chunks we need to put in place and develop? Etc.
- The Tactical is moving the pieces. If you are playing chess, you have a strategy, you know the moves you want to make, you know what you want to accomplish, and sometimes your strategy is derailed by your opponent. The tactical part of the game is actually moving the pieces and responding to the counter moves.
- The Practical is the actions, habits, and practices we execute. This is daily. This is the actual doing. Implementation.
Once every 7 years we need to examine our lives, God’s direction in our lives, and prayerfully evaluate our path, our future, and our long-range obedience. This is big picture and it brings alignment to our values, vision, mission and the things important to us and our organization.
Once a year, take a few days to examine and evaluate as you engage the Presence of God. This is the top of the funnel. We listen to God, we evaluate and reboot our long-range vision and strategies, and we lay a strategic path for the next 12 to 24 months, as it fits into our life picture. When a team is involved this could happen both individually and then, as a team.
This is the next layer of the funnel. About once a quarter you adjust the strategic plan in light of reality. The Quarterly is a bridge between the strategic and the tactical. In the Quarterly you convert the strategic into the tactical. This involves communication strategies and brining teams into the loop. As a team meeting, this would bridge the strategic into the tactical as you prepare for big initiatives in the planning stage.
Once a month you look at the tactical pieces that need to be in place. You work on logistics. You make sure teams are on track with execution. Etc. Organizationally, this would be a longer tactical staff meeting once a month to keep initiatives on track.
For me this is 2 to 4 hours of laying out the schedule for the week (or actually for the next week) and making sure everyone is on track. This moves the tactical into the actual actions we will take every day of this week. As a team meeting, this would be a “base touch” to debrief and coordinate the next advance.
This is the bottom, or the output of the funnel. These are simply the things we are doing, the things on our daily schedule. Team coordination would be perhaps a lean into someone’s office door, a text message, or a quick conversation necessary to coordinate details as they surface.
Following a vision funnel will keep you focused on converting the big picture things in your life, the things important to you because they are things God has called you to do, the vision funnel will help you convert your “big picture” into every day reality.