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The third of the three stages of inner transition that accompany the outer journey to your vision is called incorporation.

Here, brick by brick, you build your vision, until one day you realise it is complete.

As one emergency room medic put it:

“It took about three years, and one day it just kinda clicked. Starting a shift in the emergency room is like the feeling before a giant battle in a movie like Braveheart or Lord of the Rings. You just have no idea what’s going to come through the door. But one day, after about three years it just kinda clicked. I finally stopped feeling nervous, because I’d reached a level of experience where I could make the correct decisions without thinking about them.”

The same will happen for everyone involved in creating your vision. As you move forward, everyone engaged in the transformation will have the stress of losing their old identity but also the opportunity to become a more expanded version of themselves.

For some people it will take three years. For others three weeks or three days. The more people are aware of and in touch with their inner leader and the lessons of The Churning, the less time it will take.

So repeat the vision. Update it as you move forward. Give everyone a role to play in bringing that vision to life, and recognise that the more explicitly their role aligns with their own purpose in life, the more committed they will be to building their own vision, and yours along with it. Because in building the vision they will be building themselves.

Celebrate the achievement of milestones and anniversaries with ‘rituals’ as appropriate. Remind people that the vision is being achieved. And continue to confirm, revise, or enhance that vision as you move forward. Remember that the vision is as much about how you operate together as what you do. And after a while you will realise that momentum has built to such an extent that you are no longer journeying towards your vision, you are living it.

New technologies will come and go and market conditions will change. But your role, and the role of every person in the organisation, will remain constant: to fulfil your function under those new conditions, in a way that is in line with your purpose, vision, and values. This is why Apple’s vision is articulated in terms of “deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.” Their vision is not “to build the world’s best ipod” because a) that could never be achieved, and b) on the day that the world no longer needed ipods the organisation would be stuck. By defining the vision in terms of culture and competencies (“collaboration and cross-pollination”) the organisation has a vision that can be achieved today, and can always be improved upon.

If you focus on the culture, celebrate the achievements of that culture, and then one day it “just kinda clicks”, then you know you have arrived at your destination.

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2 Replies to “Incorporation”

  1. Hi Finn, I think I can see your intention behind the text. what makes me ambivalent:
    * emergency room medic: what I understand is that by improving competency u find your vision. my understanding: by looking beyond your competency u can find vision.
    * Apple: reading their vision statement I hear that their vision is Innovation and the means to reach this Goal is cooperation and/by cross-pollination.
    this could be true to a lot of corporations.
    actually that´s why I don´t find many visions that are coherent to the core of a Company but are pretty common.

    • Hi Christian,
      Thanks for your comments. Perhaps I haven’t been clear, or perhaps there is difficulty in reading the post out of context.

      On vision and the emergency room medic, I agree with you that finding a vision is about looking beyond today’s skills and competency.
      This was covered in earlier posts (and Chapter 6).
      This post is about what happens when you are working to implement the vision you have formed.

      What happens is that you go through three stages of transition (Separation, LIminal, Incorporation). By the third stage, ‘Incorporation’ you are working to build your vision, bit by bit. That is what this post is about.
      How do you know when you have got there? How do you know when you have achieved the vision? The answer I am suggesting is when “it just clicks”. When what you are doing comes within your comfort zone.
      So I think I agree with you that when you are looking to set a vision we must look outside our competency for today. And then we work towards it, and when what we are doing comes within our competency zone then we know that we have achieved the vision. We have become “a skilful ER medic” or whatever the vision was that we had set.

      On Apple’s vision, again I may have expressed myself poorly, or assumed things by taking this out of context.

      Apple doesn’t really have a Vision statement that I could find. But there is a statement that Tim Cook gave in an interview which is quoted on the Internet as being the vision.

      He said, ““We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.””

      Again, I didn’t think I had space for all that so I picked out just a small piece.

      And what I am trying to say is again, “How does a business know when it has achieved its vision?” And I am using Apple as an example to encourage people to think of a vision as not like getting to the top of a mountain, or crossing a finish line. Because those are goals and a vision is bigger than that and there will always be another mountain to climb or a finish line to cross.
      What I am saying is that it is a good idea to be like Apple (a successful firm) and think of our vision as “when we have achieved a particular way of being. Because it is something we can both achieve today, if we want to, and spend the rest of our lives getting better at and adapting the vision to whatever changing market conditions arise.

      The whole of the ‘inner leadership’ half of The Churning is about finding out what matters to the reader and finding ways to bring that to reality. It is about helping the reader to self-actualise who they are.
      In this post I am asking “How does a person (or a business) know when they have self-actualised?”. And my answer is to think of a vision as a state of being. For example, if I ask you to think of a vision of ‘Shangri La?’ then you have to imagine a way of being. That is the core of what vision is really about.
      As an example, the vision of the ER medic was achieved when (s)he achieved a particular ‘way of being’. And for Apple also it is about achieving a ‘way of being’.

      So I am talking about the third stage of ‘Incorporation’ towards achieving a vision that has been set perhaps a long time ago, and I am saying that the way you know that you have incorporated the vision is not about crossing a finishing line or mountain (because there will always be another mountain to climb, another finishing line to reach). Instead, it is about achieving a particular way of being.

      Thank you for pointing out that I did not explain this very well. I hope it is clearer now? I will see if I can edit the post and do a better job.

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