A motto is not a vision

(But a lot of people don’t know the difference)

We’ve all heard strappy, catchy mottos of a ‘vision’:

Love learning throughout life
Be the best
Reach for the stars
Every child matters

Achieve your potential (this one always makes me giggle, because I wonder what do you do when you have achieved it?  I like to think of potential as never ending, but I digress…)

These are great, snappy, one-liners which are easy to remember and help be a hook for what you do, for what your vision is, but they are not a vision in themselves.  If you have a motto and treat it like a vision, you’re using the wrong tool for the job.

And when you use the wrong tool for the job, the job is harder and sometimes impossible to achieve. Who would use a monkey wrench to hammer a nail into the wall?  If you don’t have the right tool (a vision) doing its job, it’s going to be harder to achieve.

Wrong tools for the job

It’s not often a vision can be summarised so succinctly; great visionaries articulate their visions at length and then have key phrases (like mottos) which serve as a shortcut to the overarching vision.  But the vision itself is a picture of what will be created, and a sentence or a few words has seldom, if ever, achieved this.  If you know of one, then please share it with me, I’d love to see it 🙂

Top tip:  Check – is your vision really a motto?  If it is, then it’s a great aide memoir for your vision as long as you have a clear vision of what you want to create and that is shared.

Your vision might also be your mission; to know more about the difference, see my blog about the difference between a vision and mission.

About the Author

Sonia Gill is founder of Heads Up, specialising in supporting Head Teachers and School Leaders create an outstanding school culture. https://ukheadsup.com

photo credit: HikingArtist.com via photopin cc