Business Vision → Business Reality
You know what’s wrong with a lot of mission, vision, and values conversations that businesses have?
They never show up in the actual business.
Talk that is just talk, eventually becomes meaningless. That’s why most folks roll their eyes when companies start talking about vision and values. It all sounds like Charlie Brown’s parents…blah blah blah…buzzword…teamwork…integrity…yada yada yada.
It’s only when we act on the things that we say that we show just how committed we are to them.
So if we’re going to create actual alignment around a particular vision for the future, what we need are opportunities to actually “walk the walk”.
The question is: should we just sit around and wait for those opportunities? Or could we create them ourselves?
We didn’t make up this term, and we’re also not really sure who did. To be honest, we might have just stolen “Vision Day” and applied it to this thing we do here at TwoTone.
What we are sure of when it comes to Vision Days is that we have them, we like having them, and we’re pretty confident that they are the most effective way of getting the business point across.
Vision Days for us are all about doing all the things we are saying.
^ Do we have ample opportunities to do that at work as we serve our clients? Obviously.
But what’s great about a vision day is the opportunity to see those core values on display in new and fresh light. Seeing someone be “relational” in an email to a client is one thing—seeing someone huddle up their team to discuss how to win a canoe race is another.
There’s a great book called the Power of Moments (Thanks Cody Burch) that talks about how to create memorable moments in your life, your business, your whatever.
We won’t spoil it for you here. It’s not our job to regurgitate someone else’s brilliant insights.
What we will say though, is that the book highlights the importance of creating moments that are elevated and unique—special times that break through the standard frequency of life and stick out. Anyone can host another meeting to download the company marching orders into the minds of employees—but is that really the goal?
Shouldn’t the image in your team’s mind of your company’s mission and values be more than a leader shuffling through a PowerPoint deck?
These are things that need to be experienced! They need to live and breathe and see the light of day if they are ever going to be more than a list of words on your website.
We thought about giving you a 3 step process for creating your own Vision Day. Instead, we’ll just tell you about ours.
Vision Day (TwoTone’s Version)
It was a perfect late summer morning. The week prior it had been approximately 157 degrees and humid here in central Iowa, but on this particular day – sunny with a high of 75.
The TwoTone team streamed into the offices bright and early wearing their respective dark blue and light blue Vision Day 2023 t-shirts. No one knew what was about to happen—even the leadership team was intentionally uninvited to the planning meetings. (Chloe and Jenny were the only ones in the know).
The day started normally enough. Jenny sat in the meeting area waiting for people to find their seats. The soundtrack from Hamilton was playing a bit too loudly on the vinyl record player as 8:30am approached and then, right as the clock changed from 8:29 to 8:30:
A confetti cannon exploded everywhere.
Confused and barely caffeinated team members stared blankly at the leader who sat before them who suddenly announced “Vision Day has begun. If you’re not sitting down yet, that’s 1 point per person deducted from your team!”
And with that, Vision Day 2023 went from just another talk about “Faithfully Cultivating Potential” and the importance of being remarkable, relational, and resourceful—and became a day filled with the actual practice of it.
After the initial confetti shock, came some time spent discussing potential and the many ways each member of the team wanted to grow in the coming year. It was show-and-tell time at TwoTone.
At least 4 people brought clocks, 5 or more brought books, and one person even cut up their credit card in pure Dave Ramsey fashion. Each had identified an area they wanted to grow in between now and the end of 2023.
As show-and-tell time winded down, the team was whisked away to a bus destined for past TwoTone locations. Along the way, we talked about our humble beginnings, the many people who have helped cultivate TwoTone into what it is, and very aggressively competed at “TwoTone Trivia,” which is kind of like Jeopardy, except with more shouting and less Shakespeare references.
“NO WRONG! Our oldest client is not Sports Garage, it’s Mike Worley! – Vanessa
HA – MY TEAM GETS THE POINT!” – Abby
As the bus pulled into the Racoon River parking lot, most were wondering at what point in time TwoTone had officed out of this particularly strange location. Fortunately, Chloe was standing outside wearing a boat captain’s hat, which could only mean one thing:
We were going to need our sea legs.
And unfortunately….This immersive experience was about to turn into a submersive experience for our newest addition, Kelsey.
As we leisurely paddled out to the island near the southwestern shores of Blue Heron Lake, it seemed like just another day on the water.
Everyone reached the island safely and dryly. It was a picturesque moment that was soon interrupted by the announcement of two treasures being hidden on said island. Each was worth 5 points for their team…ready-set-go!
Sand flung up in all directions as the team ran around to find these treasures. Random trash was brought forth – a stool, a fishing pole, an empty firework canister – Not the hidden treasures. And in the following intense minutes, a treasure box and a weathered (burned and coffee-stained by Jenny) scroll was found.
In the box were mementos of times past—marketing materials from TwoTone’s early days, awards from work completed, and a candy cigarette from our murder mystery party from over a year ago….ew.
In the scroll was the origin story of TwoTone, which was read aloud for the first time ever on that very beach.
It’s at this point that things started getting…remarkable? resourceful? wet?
Dear reader, hear me when I say this, no one was supposed to get injured or soaked on Vision Day. Neither of those things are listed anywhere in our core values or mission statement.
And yet, after the origin story was read, it was announced that two flags had been planted somewhere on the shores of this pristine, 232 acre lake. The first team to find them, get a team photo with one, and return to the boat dock, would be awarded an unprecedented 10 points for their team.
What followed was a blur.
One person jumped off their boat a little earlier than advisable, and ended up completely submerged underwater.
One person was stung by a wasp.
The rest of the team ended up covered in some combination of sand, water, and sweat before eventually returning to the bus.
Lunch was eaten. Naps were taken. And we spent the afternoon back at the office talking about the day, what we learned and what we still want to learn.
- We wrote out personal “I am” statements after watching clips from Gladiator and a sermon clip from Pastor Mark Ragsdale at Church at Viera.
- We were given our “word” for the year that was specifically chosen by the leadership team to reflect our highest growth priority for the coming year.
- We spent time encouraging one another in areas of potential by passing around sheets for each person taking time to write words of inspiration to each other.
It was a physically and emotionally exhausting day—in all the right ways.
Vision Day 2023 was one of those days where you hit the pillow that night with a smile on your face. It’s a day that we’ll remember.
It was a day that will forever remind us what we’re trying to do here at TwoTone:
Mission: Faithfully Cultivating Potential
Core Values: Remarkable, Relational, Resourceful
^examples of each are plentiful from our Vision Day.
We are still uncovering memories from that day and applying them to today’s challenges.
We have our “words” on our desks as a reminder of that day and everything it meant.
We’re still talking about it…
…and that was the point.