Can We Talk About Your Vision
What is your vision for your company? Can you talk about it with people in a way they will understand? Will it inspire people in a way that they will want/need to get involved and to help with it? Or will it be a statement on a bit of paper that is framed in your entrance hallway or posters in your canteen that everyone looks at the first time, shakes their heads then ignores forevermore. Are they embarrassed at the extreme use of language, a literal full house of buzzword bingo words and non-descript phrasing that on the surface say everything yet means nothing leaving them confused about what it actually says and certainly with zero ideas of what you intend to be.
Let's be clear about what a vision statement actually is, it's really quite simple. A vision statement is a clear statement of what you want to be in the future, it must give direction, be meaningful and inspiring. It should provide a tangible image of what your organisation will be in the future, but the future state shouldn't be guaranteed, it needs to be a stretch, a challenge otherwise what's the point? It will change over time as the landscape of your organisation and its environment, competitors and opportunities change.
A vision is about seeing all the possibilities that exist for the future and picking the one that you believe, as the leader, is the right one. It is by no means certain that it will actually come to pass, but that's the challenge of leadership, to steer the organisation according to the vision you have set out an achieve the successes that reaching the vision will bring.
Important Elements of a Vision
- Timeframes: A good vision needs to look out at least 5 years, some look out 30 years! If this is your first you may think 3 years is enough, but I'd suggest that it's too short. 3 years is just enough time to roll out a great operational plan, not your vision, how big a step can you really take in only 3 years. How much will the landscape of the organisation really change in 3 years?
- Direction – Your vision must provide a genuine direction for your team to follow, "This is where we are going". They can look at each strategic question that comes along, each major decision that needs to be made an ask the simple question does this move us in the direction of our vision. (you would also follow this up with the question, does align with our values!)
- A destination -You need to know when you have reached your endpoint, as you get close to this point you may decide it is time for a new vision, a new stretch for the organisation, that's ok, it's the right thing to do but be clear on the destination, on how you know you will have won.
- Customers & Markets – Which type or specific ones will you focus on in the future, how will that impact how your operation exists and executes its operations. What mark position will you try and grab, will you be fleet of foot, the cheapest on the block or the very best quality for the discerning shopper?
How to make the vision come alive
You can obviously write down the vision and frame it, but it won't do anything. As soon as you hang it on the wall and walk away it will die, and it won't be a slow painful death, it will be sudden, and it will be unceremonious.
You are the leader, it is your job to stand in front of people both in groups and on a 1:1 basis and sell them the vision, to inspire them with the possibility of what could be. You must paint the picture of what the result of achieving this vision will be and why that matters and for whom it matters. For the vision to become reality you need every fibre of their being engaged in achieving it. You need to have the conversation over and over and over, every chance you get pitching it in whatever way is right for that situation and for that person. You should reward based on moving toward the vision in a manner that is acceptable to the company values, those that move away from it need to be challenged and reminded of why the vision is important.
Creating The Vision
Creating the vision can be challenging, not everyone is comfortable living in make believe. That, after all, is what you are doing, you're looking at the future state you want, you are imagining what it will be like.
There are a range of tools & techniques that can be used, one is to imagine you are in the board room 5 years from now, celebrating the achievement of your vision, what does that look like, where is the business operating now, what are the results, what did you do? How did you measure it? Write down what you see.
Another way is to review the current market trends, what is accelerating, what is declining, where are you on the spectrum of these trends, are you closer to decline or advancement? What would you need to do to be at the edge or perhaps just behind the edge of the advancing trend?
There are numerous discussions on how long your vision statement should be, 5 words 10 words, 15, 25, the fact is it's not how many words you use or don't use that counts, it's the content, if it says everything you need it to say and it's 30 works that's great, if it's 27 or 41 that's Ok as well, you just need to be able to communicate it. As the leader, that means you need to be able to remember it and have been in your organisation remember it so try to err on shorter, but meaningful.
Get In Touch
If you need any support in developing or reviewing your organisational vision, mission or goals then click here to make an appointment and find out how we can help you Make Things, Better
You can also call John on 0211649739 to set up a meeting
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