Setting a clear company vision.
Ok so now you have your personal vision, do you have a clear company vision?
A good company vision defines your company and, more importantly, its future path ahead.
Powerful vision statements are ones that you remember and govern all decisions and directions as a roadmap to follow.
For inspiration, common Vision Statements that you would have heard of before include:-
- Disney’s “to make people happy” or
- Instagram’s “capture and share the world’s moments” or
- an early Microsoft vision was to “have a computer on every desk in every home” or
- Google:“To provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
- IKEA:“To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
- Oxfam:“A world without poverty.”
- Amazon:“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
- Ben & Jerry’s:“Making the best ice cream in the nicest possible way.”
What is a vision statement?
A vision statement highlights the desired long-term results (unlike a mission statement – which describes the who, what and why of your business).
Why is it so important to have a vision as a company? Research upon research clearly shows that engagement levels are significantly higher when an employee can connect with and find the company’s vision meaningful.
Even more importantly, the more they connect, the greater they become positive ambassadors for your business.
What to consider when writing a vision?
- Who should be included? You want to ensure you have range of employee voices.
- How to use your vision statement? Where will your vision statement appear and how will you reference it and truly integrate it into your company culture?
- Does it speak directly to your employees? Yes, it is important to ensure shareholder return but it is not very inspiring for employees to connect to. The best test of seeing if your customer will connect to it is to see if your employees connect to it first. If your employees believe in it only then will they take actions and prioritise decisions that reflect your vision.
- Does it reflect your purpose, goals and values? These will all help you frame your vision statement.
- Is it different to competitors? Reviewing and differentiating yourself from competitors will help your clearly define your vision.
- Is it clear enough? You want your vision to be short, succinct and memorable but it still needs to be long enough to be clear.
- What tense to use? While you are looking ahead potentially 5-10 years, use the present tense.
This is your opportunity to dream big and be daring. It should be a stretch but achievable. After all, you don’t want your vision statement to be boring. Some useful questions to consider (relating to your product or service):-
- Why did the founder start your business? Why do you do what you do?
- What impact would you love your business to have on the world?
- What areas currently upset you or you wish you could change that would make a real “Vision statements should demonstrate how the world will be different now that your business is in it,” said DeJong. She believes there needs to be legitimate passion behind a vision statement in order for it to be effective. “So many leaders play it too safe with their vision, and this is a big mistake when it comes to developing a brand people actually care about.”
So what now?
Now, hopefully you have something drafted down and you have identified the people you may want to include.
Don’t worry if it is not perfect. At the end of 12 months – review it. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to change it. You and your team need to really connect to it. It should inspire you to want to achieve it especially on those days when things may be tough.