A vision is a picture of where your organization will be in 3, 5, 10, and 20 years.
The Importance of a Vision
A vision creates clarity and unity of purpose and will:
- Unite and inspire your stakeholders.
- Guide you and your C-Suite executives when faced with challenging decisions.
- Give your employees a sense of:
Without a clear vision your company and its employees will have no idea where they are headed. People are motivated to perform when they have a clear understanding of your organization’s purpose and direction. Visions affect a company’s structure and the working relationships of team members. Once created, you can then use a vision statement to clearly communicate your vision to your enterprise.
Purpose of a Vision Statement
Your vision statement should:
- Provide a general direction for your organization.
- Not address details.
- Make decision making easier.
Every major decision your organization makes should be aligned with the vision statement.
Characteristics of a Vision Statement
Great vision statements are:
- Clear. If a twelve year old doesn’t understand it then it’s not clear enough. Visions that are hard to explain eventually fade into oblivion.
- General. A vision statement describes what you will do, not how you will do it. The simpler, the better. No details, please.
- Inspiring. Is the vision a worthy cause? A vision statement should describe a tangible benefit to a large audience. The more you and your team find the vision exciting, the more you will want to achieve it.
- Challenging. A great vision will require people to perform at their best. Although the vision should be realistic, it should really stretch a company’s resources.
Perhaps the greatest vision statement of all time came from John F. Kennedy when he declared the Unites States would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. What would the equivalent statement for your company be?
Creating Your Vision
Creating a vision statement helps you and the rest of your organization see exactly where you want to be in 3, 5, 10, or 20 years. Your company’s vision statement should be clear, concise and a reflection of its values and mission. It is not an exact roadmap; it just points the general direction.
To help develop your vision statement:
- What are your company’s core values? Why?
- What is your company’s mission, i.e. it’s reason for existence?
- What are your company’s strengths?
- What does your company really want to accomplish?
- Do team members share the same values?
Your vision will affect everyone in an organization. If a company is to grow it will need to update its vision from time to time. By involving your c-suite executives with the creation of a new vision you will obtain their:
- Trust. Relationships are built on trust, and including your team in important decisions is a perfect way to build loyalty and trust with them.
- Respect. Showing respect is a great way to gain it. Involving your leadership with creating the new vision will also help them feel valued and worthy.
- Insights. At times, great ideas come from the most unlikely of places. An open forum, or brainstorming session with the entire team often reveals great new opportunities.
- Commitment. Executives will be far more willing to commit to the vision if they feel that their opinions were heard. Listening to your employees will always empower them and ensure that your leaders feel they contributed to its development.
- Collaboration. Division leaders will have a greater desire to commit to a vision if they know the rest of the team is equally committed. Knowing the company will be working together as a team will help your executives feel confident and supported.
Executing Your Vision
Proper execution requires that you and the upper management:
- Clearly communicate the company vision to the entire organization.
- Get a commitment from each of the company’s executives.
Communicating Your Vision
To communicate a vision effectively organizational leaders must:
- Be confident. Once you have your vision your executives must fully support it. There can be no room for doubt or second guessing.
- Over-communicate the vision, iterating it whenever possible.
- Be enthusiastic. Nothing energizes a team more than genuine enthusiasm.
- Maintain integrity. Your actions and those of your leaders should reflect a commitment to the vision.
Successful communication means that c-suite members understand:
- How they can support the vision.
- What’s expected of them.
Getting their Commitment
To get a commitment from each c-level executive:
- Get the Buy-In. People seldom care about something that doesn’t personally benefit them in some way. To get their support you can ask them an empowering question like, “How do your values align with our company’s mission/vision.”
- Request a verbal or written commitment. Members are far more likely to commit to something if they have already promised to support it.
A vision is a clear picture of where your organization will be in 3, 5, 10, or 20 years and will create clarity, confidence and unity of purpose. A great vision can make decision making easier and inspire your employees to greatness.
To survive and grow, you will need to adapt your vision periodically; change can be swift and unexpected as opportunities arise and new technologies are developed. Revising the vision will help your organization more effectively capitalize on new trends, emerging markets and situational opportunities; involving them with crafting your new vision will earn their trust, respect, insights and commitment.
Ascanio Pignatelli is an employee engagement expert. He is an award winning speaker, seminar leader, coach, and author of the forthcoming book Lead from Need: Raising Employee Engagement from the Core. He is the founder of E3 Solutions, an executive coaching and leadership development group that helps executives develop the leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces.
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