In our busy and demanding world, here’s a foundational leadership tool that helps guide both your long-term as well as short-term goals. We call it the VPMOSA. I’d like you to consider writing down your VPMOSA, which is your Vision, Purpose, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action plans and here’s why: because it is so beneficial to you. Let me share, first, how to make this tool your own through a brief overview and, second, how it can benefit you. And let me caution you not to get bogged down in pondering the semantics and trying to decide which word means what. 

Briefly, here’s how you can approach writing down your VPMOSA. First, we create the VPM. The V is for casting a Vision for your life. Take some thought about writing a clear vision. How do you do that? If you were standing at your future tombstone, think about what you would like it to say. What would you want those few words to say about you to people walking by your gravestone? Then, try writing down your own obituary or epitaph that you would want people to read in your newspaper announcement. Next, write down the values that you would need that would guide you to that vision so that people would agree that really was who you were. As you look over what you’ve written so far, then ask yourself what your vision statement is, what would you have wanted to have accomplished if you could turn the clock forward to the end of your life. 

The P stands for your Purpose statement. Think about why you think you’re here, why you’re alive, and why you want to accomplish that vision. Then write down those thoughts. 

The next part is the M that stands for your Mission statement. Here, ask yourself what you are willing to do to fulfill that vision that no one else would be willing to do. Think about how you want to fulfill your vision.  

Next comes the OSA. The O is for the Objectives that will help you accomplish your mission. Write down three to six to help achieve the mission. Then you’re ready for the S that stands for Strategies. Write down two or three strategies that will help you accomplish each objective and tie them to the areas of your life that are most important to you, areas such as your family, your work, perhaps your ministry, your health, or even a sports team you might coach. Finally, you are ready to identify the A which stands for the measurable actions that would be associated with each of those strategies, what actions you would need to take for each of those strategies.  

That’s a brief overview of how to go about writing your own VPMOSA. As you consider writing your own Vision, Purpose, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action plans, let me share a couple of things with you. One is that I live my daily life through the lens of my VPMOSA. One of the most important parts of life is my family. So, for example, if I get a phone call asking me to travel, to consult, to teach or train, the first thing I do is check with my wife. What does this do to her schedule? What does this do to our schedule? I look at my calendar and I ask what does this do to our family. Do my children have any activities that are so important to them that I should not miss? If I don’t do these things, I know for sure what I’ve written down in my epitaph and obituary won’t happen.  

That’s just one example of how your VPMOSA can guide you in making even daily decisions based on what it says. It not only helps resolve family scheduling issues, but it also keeps you focused on where and how you want to spend your time and effort.  

Now let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard of a man named Alfred Nobel? Many of you would say yes because you know he’s known for the Nobel Peace Prize.  

Here’s the story about Alfred Nobel and where the Nobel Peace Prize came from. One day he picked up a newspaper, and he read in the paper that he had died. In reality, his brother was the one who had passed away, but he was reading the newspaper’s mistaken account and what they had written about him. He saw that he was going to be remembered as the man who had created dynamite. As the inventor of dynamite, he would be remembered as the man who was responsible for the deaths of so many people when those explosions took place. He decided right there that he didn’t want to be remembered that way. What did he do? He came up with the Nobel Peace Prize so he would be remembered for something that meant peace, not something that meant death.  

I’d like to encourage you to include this VPMOSA tool in your leadership tool bag to help you become the transformational leader that you need and want to be and that those around you need and want you to be. Who knows? If you do your VPMOSA, think what impact it might have on the very trajectory and course of your life.  

Ford Taylor is a leadership strategist, keynote speaker, and the author of Relactional Leadership. As the Founder of Transformational Leadership, he is known as a man who can solve complex business issues, with straightforward practical solutions, while maintaining his focus on people.