Posted almost 5 years ago

Keep Your Company Vision Alive

A company vision is not a slogan to put on a piece of paper and stuff in a drawer. Your vision must be the focus and guiding beacon for the company.  Far too frequently a vision statement is presented in the process of obtaining initial investors, adjusting company direction, or in the process of introducing new products and then placed on a shelf to gather dust.  Make your vision come alive; print it on your brochures, your calendars and your catalogs.  

Why develop a company vision?

"A vision outlines the values you hold and the more meaningful contribution people can have as they pursue that vision," explains John Michela, an organizational psychologist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.  

People buy-in to what they help create.  Employees are more motivated to work hard when the company vision inspires them.  Before you detail the specifics in a strategic business plan, you must create a broad picture of the focus of the business.  Create a vision.  

What time, money or risk problems will your company be solving?  What is the focal point of the company?  Why create the company?  Until you have the broad stroke of the company vision in place, it will be unrealistic to expect to develop any specific objectives.

What are the elements of a vision statement?

1.  Clarity - Case in point is Caribou Coffee.  In the high turnover industry of fast food, Caribou has an excellent retention rate.  According to a Success magazine December 2012 interview, the teenage baristas are taught to be excellent, not just good, in everything they do.  The company vision is so clear that they "get it" and can follow through.

A specific clear vision is more effective than a vague general statement.

2.  Create enthusiasm.  Inspire employees, potential customers and investors: when they are empowered and eager, they will be part of the long range company solution.  Employees at Print Place believe in the company and its products; enthusiasm and trust is a winning combination.

3.  Create trust.  In order to achieve optimal results, there must be mutual trust between employees and management and between customers and employees.  Lack of trust creates a lack of buy-in on all levels - management, employees, customers, and investors.  Trust is created when a customer receives value, excellent quality and service.  When employees know they are respected and valued, they produce at a higher level.  Management, employees and customers benefit when the trust factor is high.

Your marketing materials present the company image.  Trust your printed marketing materials to Print Place, a company you can trust.  Show people how every aspect of your business supports the vision.  

Walk the Talk

Follow through.  Re-visit the mission frequently.  Your strategic plan has checkpoints to be certain you are on target to achieve the ultimate goals.  Keep the vision in the forefront of all discussions to be certain you are not straying from the core company value.

The conventional decide-execute model does not fit today's reality.  No longer will it work for a small group of top executives to make decisions and expect the employees to robotically execute the directives.  People buy-in to what they help create.  Giving them an opportunity to voice their opinion increases their buy-in.  

Mountain Castles Property Management had a philosophy of expecting employees to contribute to solutions.  Employees were discouraged from complaining about a situation without offering at least one potential solution.  This practice kept everyone focused on positives with one simple question, "How does your solution fit with the company vision?"  

Keep them Inspired

Create a vision with the power and strength to speak to all.  

  1. Believe in the vision and explain it in such a way that others willingly sign on.

Empower others by being inclusive of them.

Facilitate, not dictate.  Recognize and reward others frequently.

Make them part of the company success stories

Listen to ideas.  Engage others in the growth process

Sell your vision.  "A team aligned behind a vision will move mountains.  Sell them on your roadmap and don't compromise - care about the details, the fit and finish.  Only work with those that have (as Larry Page puts it) "a healthy disregard for the impossible." and push everyone on your team until its's uncomfortable."

  • Convey your mission.  Display it everywhere.  Print it on your company brochures.  Be proud of your vision.  Keeping it visible to employees, prospects and customers lets everyone know your focus and your goals.

Your vision demonstrates the time, money and risk problem you are solving and your dedication to serving the greater good of everyone.  Displaying and following through on your company vision can turn your company into a magnet for attracting top quality employees and customers.