Context: How to Drive Action

How is a Manifesto different from a Mission and Vision Statement? In part one, we talked about ‘Who is it For?’ And, here we discuss the second big difference… the context they set.

The Power of Context - Holiday

The End of Things

As the terms suggests, the Vision or Mission Statements define the place we want to finish up. If we were going on holiday they’d be our destination. They’re a description of what things will look like when we’re done.

And, like going on holiday, all that matters is getting to the end result. How we get there is usually bolted on separately as a set of values. And, these usually have very little to do with the journey we’re on. The typical favorites are: honesty, integrity and vanilla… Or at least they turn into vanilla because if we were honest with ourselves integrity does not have a lot to do with grabbing market share.

Why Ideas Fail

A manifesto is created from a different perspective. A manifesto is about bringing an idea into existence. Let me explain…

Ideas and, ultimately, innovation fail for one simple reason… the idea doesn’t grow into a useful form. Think about it this way… We all have hundreds and thousands of thoughts every day. Most of them flash by faster than your Twitter stream never to be seen again. That’s the typical death of most of our ideas.

Let’s Go on Holiday!

Instead, let’s consider how ideas come into existence with a familiar example. Let’s go on holiday!

Now, that I’ve mentioned it you can either do two things: forget about ‘holiday’ as soon as it arrives and move onto your next thought, or you can pause and reflect.

Let’s say you pause and reflect long enough to do something about ‘holiday’. So, you jump online and click on a few websites. That night you talk it over with your partner and the next day you book your dream holiday at a beach, in the mountains or anywhere that’s at least 1000 miles from your mother-in-law.

Your holiday now exists outside your head, inside your partner’s head and in the booking you just made. The idea ‘holiday’ is alive and grounded in reality!

Context and Action

Next thing you know, you’re thinking about what to take with you. In other words, you’re already acting as if the holiday is going to happen. This the context of ‘Yippee, I’m going on holiday!’ And, this is the power of a context, it calls you into action.

The day before you’re due to leave for your holiday you notice you get nothing done at work. And you realise you’ve spent all day thinking ‘holiday’. You don’t sleep that night either because you’re thinking ‘holiday’.

And, the next day you’re super excited because you’ve done it! ‘Holiday’ is real. You’re living the dream.

Living from an Inspired Future

This is an example of being inspired today by what might happen tomorrow. That’s the power of context and having a manifesto.

And, that’s why a manifesto has more dimensions than the single focus of a Vision or Mission Statement. It includes where you’re headed. It also includes: what you’re leaving behind, the community you’re building, the way of being you need to generate and the actions you’ll take. That’s why there are nine principles in The Manifesto Manifesto.

And, that’s what’s needed to create a powerful context. It needs to be three-dimensional to be a powerful call to action.

Have I planted a seed now? And, I don’t mean to go on holiday. Can you see how a Manifesto is different from a Vision or Mission Statement? Love to hear your thoughts.



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