Lessons from Zingermans #1: Vision

When I attended my recent mastermind group meeting in Ann Arbor, my mentor Yanik Silver arranged for us to spend a day at Zingerman’s. For those of you that don’t know Zingerman’s, they were recently voted the ‘coolest small company in America’ and we got to spend the whole day with one of their two founders, Ari Weinzweig – a truly inspirational man.

Get his book and read it to have some of the ‘Zingerman’s experience’ for yourself.

As part of the day, he shared with us his 12 Natural  Laws Of Business and for the next few weeks, the lessons I learned from Zingerman’s will be replacing our regular Monday Mindset slot (although they truly are mindset pieces as you’ll see).

So Law #1 is ‘An inspiring, strategically sound vision leads to greatness’.

Ari shared with us his vision for Zingerman’s 2020 and explained just how embedded and powerful the concept and practice of visioning is in his business. Their business vision is covered in every staff orientation and every single member of staff you meet there from the dishwasher to the bakers know and buy-into the bigger vision for the company.

Ari recommends an exercise to get you started where you simply sit and let flow from the end of your pen, the vision you have for your business in the time-frame that you choose ( a couple of years out if you’re pretty new). I’ve done similar exercises before, but Ari recommends you write and write whatever comes into your head (he uses swear words just to keep the pen going when he gets stuck!!) for a full 30 minutes. Then leave that draft alone for a couple of days and revisit it up to three times.

I realised it’s the stuff that comes out after you’d normally stop (maybe 10, 15 minutes into this) that really shows you what you truly want your business to end up looking like, what your staff and customers will be saying about you then.

And when you’re suffering from those business moments of doubt, it’s such a valuable piece of paper to pull out and remind you what you’re heading for and why all that hard work is worth it.

So, I’d love it if you’d set aside 30 minutes and create that first draft of your vision for the next 2 years and share your insights and aha’s as you do. Once I’ve firmed mine up, I’ll be sharing with you so watch this space…there’s a lot of good things in there for you my treasured customers and readers :)

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