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Vision without Action is Hallucination

By Stephen Tweed

Several years ago, I was presenting a workshop for CAHSAH – The California Association for Health Services at Home.  I was talking about Vision, and I gave them my definition:

“A consciously created fantasy of what could be … fueled by the conviction that it should be.”  vision

We were joking around about conscious fantasies when a young woman stood up in the middle of the room and said, “This is all fun, but remember that Vision without Action is Hallucination.”  The crowd roared with laughter.

I’ve told that story hundreds of times since then whenever I’m working with a group on vision and strategy.  Several years later in another workshop, a young man stood up and said, “Yes, AND … Action without vision is confusion and chaos.”

We want neither hallucination or confusion.  What we want as leaders in home health care is focused action to address the strategic issues facing our agencies.

Creating Strategic Focus

As I have been speaking around the country on the topic of Strategic Focus, I repeat the definition – “Having a clear vision for the future, having a strategy to get there, and having the talent to execute with excellence.”  While this is a simple definition, it is not easy.

First, it’s not easy because so many leaders don’t know how to develop a clear vision for the future.

Second, it’s not easy because so many leaders don’t know how to develop a clear strategy to get there.

Third, it’s not easy because so many leaders don’t know how to recruit, select, develop, and coach new talent in the agency.

The place to start is with Vision.  What do you want your agency to look like five years from now?  If you would wave your magic wand and make your agency anything you want it to be, what would it look like.

I was speaking last week for a very large home care organization, and I talked about vision and the comments of Thomas Watson, Sr. the Founder of IBM.  In the hay day of the company Watson said:

“IBM is what it is today for three special reasons:  tom-watson-vision

  1. I had a very clear picture of what the company would look like when it is done.
  2. I created a picture of how IBM would act when it is done.
  3. I recognized that unless we act that way from the very beginning, we will never get there.”

What will your agency look like when it is done?  How will you act when it is done? How will you act now so that you will get there?

Developing the Next Generation of Home Health Leaders

These challenges in creating Strategic Focus have led us to the 2016 Home Health Care Leadership Study, and our work on developing the next generation of home care leaders.  If you are the CEO of a medium to large home health agency, and you have not yet completed the CEO Leadership Survey, I would like to personally invite you to participate.  It will take you about 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to answer questions about your own leadership style.  In exchange for your time, we’ll send you your own personal leadership report.  It will show you more about your leadership behavior. your workplace motivators, and the core competencies where you are strong.

Take a few moments now and look at the study.  Then set aside a few minutes of quiet time and Complete the Assessment.

Join me at NAHC for Strategic Focus: A Gameplan to Grow the Company you Want.  strategic-focus-nahc-16-x-9-final

On Monday, October 24, 2016 at 9:45 am, join me in Orlando at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice for a conversation about Strategic Focus. I’ll be presenting a breakout session and I’ll have some brand new material about the process you can use to grow the agency you want in these trying times.  We’ll be talking about the Six Seismic Shifts Shaping the Future of Home Health Care in America.  Then we’ll explore the concept of Strategic Focus, and how you can make it work for you.

Join us at NYS-HCP for for The Head and the Heart of Home Care

If you can’t make it to NAHC, and you are from New York or the northeast, join Elizabeth Jeffries and me on Thursday, October 26, 2016 in Huntington, New York, for the New York Association of Health Care Providers.  We’ll be presenting a new keynote on The Head and the Heart of Home Care.  We’ll also lead a Home Care CEO Forum for agency owners and CEOs to talk about the lessons from the 2016 Home Health Care CEO Leadership Study.

If you would like to know more about creating Strategic Focus in your agency, please give me a call at 502-339-0653.

If you would like more information on having Elizabeth Jeffries or me speak at your association conference or corporate meeting, visit


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