This speech was written in mid 2009 for an international meeting of national business unit leaders. The theme was “vision”, which had a dual meaning given the nature of the company’s main product line. Times were tough, and optimism was scarce. Managers needed to be inspired and reminded what “vision” really means, and how they both belong to and contribute to a bright and positive vision.

You’re tired of management buzzwords – so am I. You’ve heard the term “vision” a thousand times – so have I. You think it’s overused and sometimes misused – and so do I. 

Take a look at the people sitting around you right now. Take a good look. Go on, look around. You see faces you know and faces you don’t – you might even see a few faces you don’t like! 

Everyone you see here today is here because of a vision. You are one such person, and so am I. A vision brought us here. Our vision just happened to be in line with the vision of our founder. Our founder isn’t here today – but evidently, his vision is, because this room is full of people who share it, who live it, and who deliver it – to facilitate, satisfy, and delight our customers.

For us, vision is no hollow term, and we don’t use it carelessly. Vision is our purpose. Vision is our unity. Have you ever met a nine-to-five worker, someone who does his job but does so without vision? Hopefully, you haven’t met one here – or maybe he’s one of those faces you didn’t want to see just now! Having vision means we do more than just our nine-to-five. Vision means we fulfil, exceed, excel, and grow – individually and collectively. We work because we have vision, and we work because the results are our vision. 

Our founder had a simple – but powerful – vision. As a camera-obsessed youngster, he simply wanted to bring the wonder of image making to as many people as possible. Now, if he didn’t have that vision, he would have been just another cheap camera maker. He wouldn’t have lasted, and you wouldn’t be here today, leading a worldwide corporation. He wanted more. He wanted to bring the world of visual creativity and recording to everyone, rich or poor. He wanted everyone to benefit from the wonderful gift of image making. So he didn’t stop when he made affordable, usable cameras. Nor did he stop when he made innovative, high-end cameras for professionals. And he didn’t stop even when entirely new technologies displaced traditional film. All along, he was guided by his original vision. This meant that he continued to develop his product when others would have settled, when times changed, when manufacturing went to new countries. He took his products to untried markets that others feared to enter. He took technology to those unfamiliar with it, showed its wonders, and made it accessible. He learnt about his customers’ needs and he designed with these in mind. He may not be here today, but his vision is, and his vision is present in all of you, and it is the DNA of our company.

Never think that what you do here is “work”. Never think that you are in the business of just making and selling cameras. What you do is bring the wonder of image making to the people of the world, offering them the tools to release their passions, document their lives, and share their impressions with friends – far and wide. That’s a vision to be proud of. And like our founder, you do it brilliantly. Now you know what vision means to us. It is real and it is our strength. You have it. We have it. And we win time and again because of it.
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