Monday, February 6

Working With Vision: How The Future Shapes Today

There is an old adage I learned two decades ago. There are no boring stories, only boring writers.

Sometimes executives and communication professionals tell me it isn't true. There are plenty of boring companies and not everyone needs a vision. Statistics seem to bear their argument out. As many as one-third of Fortune 500 companies do not have a vision statement. And, for those that do, only 22 percent have transformational vision statements, which strive to change the world (or the segment in which they operate).

However, most of those who cite that figure neglect the historical truth. One-third of Fortune 500 companies in 1970 ceased to exist by 1983 and more than two-thirds were gone by 1995. No company is too big to fail. And those that do fail never have a substantive or transformative vision.

Corning Incorporated Sees Its Vision. 

Corning Incorporated is a glass and ceramics company. When people hear the name, most remember it for its CorningWare and Corelle tableware brands even though the company divested those assets in 1998. (The original company, Bay State Glass Co. in 1851, wasn't focused on tableware either.)

Its vision statement has deep meaning for those who know what it means, but tends to feel flat otherwise. A portion of it reads like this: We remain steadfast in our commitment to leverage the key strands of our Diversity DNA: operate with a Global Mindset, support a Culture of Collaboration, foster a Passion for Learning, encourage Employee Development and Value The Individual.

But neither that line, nor the broader statement, really conveys what Corning is. If you really want to understand who Corning is, watch this video clip. It runs almost six minutes; every second counts.

Everything about A Day Made of Glass 2 presents a crystal clear transformative vision that changes the way you think about the company and what the future might look like. It's hardly boring; it's inspired.

In fact, it inspires in every segment of its audience: consumers, developers, partners, employees, and investors. It not only changes the way people see the world, but it also changes the way we see Corning in it.

Change The Way People See The World.

When I first watched the video on the day it was posted, only a few hundred people had found it. Two days later, it captured 180,000 views. In the days that follow,  some communicators will call it a viral success.

I do not. Going viral isn't the real story. The real story is how a company not only found its transformative vision, but also the perfect way to communicate it. The outcome is as big as the vision.

It is difficult to watch this video without thinking about Corning Incorporated differently. It's difficult to watch this video without thinking about the world differently. This future is today, if we want it to be.
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