Female coco-de-mer with immature fruits © Mark Deeble & Victoria Stone / gettyimages.com

When someone plants a Coco-de-mer palm tree, they have a vision that projects 32 years in to the future. The Coco-de-mer palm tree takes 25 years to reach maturity when it begins bearing fruit. That fruit takes an additional 7 years to mature.

Do you have a 32-year vision for your organization? Do you have any idea how you would come up with one? Here are five things to think about as you begin developing your vision.

  1. It's result-oriented - not process oriented. That means you're not talking about the activities you do - it's about the results you get.
  2. It should be simple to understand. Once you have it mapped out, have a conversation with a fourth grader and make sure they can understand what you're trying to do.
  3. It focuses on how the community will be different as a result of your work (yes, I know this sounds almost identical to #1, but it's important enough to reword and mention again).
  4. It should be easy to remember - so easy that any of your board members (or staff members) could share it with their friends or with someone they run into at the grocery store. I personally try to aim for 7 words or less in the board sessions I facilitate.
  5. It has to have substance behind it. This isn't just fluff you pull out of the air, it's something that the board and staff leadership have spent time developing and building consensus on.

What else do you take into consideration when you begin developing (or revisiting) your organization's vision. I'd love to hear your comments below!