No matter how big or small your business is without a clear vision of where you are going owners and directors often fall into the classic trap of just managing from day-to-day.
Envisioning the Future
Leadership is about investing time, envisioning the future and effort to see into the future and imagine how things could be, is as important for success as having real passion for the business and the determination to create something new. These three personal qualities of leaders are vital for successful companies and a vision statement, sometimes called “a picture of your company in the future”, but it’s so much more than that.
Your vision statement is your inspiration, the framework for all your strategic planning. A vision statement may apply to an entire company or to a single division within that company.
The vision statement answers the question, “Where do we want to go?” What you are doing when creating a vision statement is articulating your dreams and hopes for your business. It reminds you of what you are trying to build. A vision statement is for you and the other members of your company, not just for your customers or clients.
Visionary goals should be longer term and more challenging than strategic goals. Collins and Porras describe these lofty objectives as “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals.” These goals should be challenging enough so that people nearly gasp when they learn of them and realize the effort that will be required to reach them.
Most visionary goals fall into one of the following five categories:
- Targeted – quantitative or qualitative goals such as Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
- Common enemy – focused on overtaking a specific firm, becoming the number one in that sector, such as Amazon: “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
- Role model – to become like another in a different industry or market, the mirror role, Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) “Right from the beginning, I said I wanted to be more famous than Persil Automatic”.
- Internal transformation – creating internal vision, GE set the goal of “Becoming number one or number two in every market it serves”
While visionary goals may require significant stretching to achieve, many visionary companies have succeeded in reaching them. Once such a goal is achieved, it needs to be replaced; otherwise, it is unlikely that the organization will continue to be successful. The second most dangerous place for a company is to have achieved its only goal, the most dangerous place is never to have had one.
Creating Your Business Vision
Simple steps to creating your vision, ask some simple questions:
- What will our business look like in 3 to 5 years from now?
- What new things do we intend to pursue and how?
- What future customer needs do we want to satisfy?
Write the answers down and focus on developing them into a coherent, motivational and purposeful message which can connect with everyone.
- Does our vision statement provide a powerful picture of what our business will look like in 3 to 5 years from now?
- Is your vision statement a picture of your company’s future, which everyone can interpret into their role?
- Does it clarify the business activities to pursue, the desired market position and capabilities you will need
If your statement answers these questions then you have a vision worth owning and sharing. A vision must be motivational to everyone inside an organisation.
The classic apocryphal story to demonstrate the effectiveness of great visions is about the time President Kennedy visited NASA. During one trip he came across a cleaner sweeping the warehouse floor, and asked him what his job at NASA was. The cleaner replied “My Job is to put a man on the moon, Sir.”
Now I don’t know if the story is true, but it’s inspiring. In a facility full of high-powered individuals and great minds, even the cleaner was completely on board with the strategy. While you may not be planning to put a person on the moon, we can learn a lot from the story. It may sound ridiculous, but every business needs to be a little like NASA.
|Great visions can create an unstoppable company|
Every organisation needs to have a clear vision, owned by everyone inside and outside it. An owned and shared vision creates and sustains great morale and internal strength for companies, which can become a powerful and unstoppable force in any market no matter how competitive.
At Cowden Consulting we focus on ensuring companies can successfully compete in their chosen or desired market.
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