Communicating Company Vision
Ian Richardson, Managing Partner, Richardson & Richardson Consulting LLC
We were struggling to move forward. My team was frustrated, with our vendors, with each other, even with the clients whom we served. That frustration was causing lack of progress on installations, delays in service response, and a decrease in customer satisfaction. Throughout the organization, you could sense a lack of motivation, excitement, and overall energy. There wasn’t a quick fix, but there was a path forward that helped solve these problems – we set and focused on communicating a company vision.
Three Parts of Company Vision
Before we dive into techniques around communicating company vision, it’s important to understand exactly what I’m referring to by the word “vision.” As with most items in business, I’ve found that the best way to ensure everyone is functioning off the same common vernacular is to establish and communicate that terminology.
A company vision, as I define it, consists of three parts. Those parts are all equally important, and all require an organization-wide understanding to make the vision effective. Those parts are as follows:
- A statement of where the organization is at presently. This statement should define the strategic focuses, operational tactics and limitations, financial realities, team, client base, geographic footprint, and leadership structure.
- A defined future state for the organization. This future state should have a clearly articulated strategy and areas of focus, operational milestones that define the day-to-day existence of the organization, and the financial metrics, goals, and targets that should be achieved if the company stays on plan and executes accordingly.
- A high-level overview of how the organization will go from its current state to its desired future state. These should be broad statements of action, such as “Acquire a comparable business in our geographic service area”, “develop and implement a sales process that will scale to support our growth”, “invest in continuing education and certification for our team” and so on.
Company Vision guides actions
Company Vision is a powerful, yet misunderstood and underutilized strategic tool. Too often, the vision created is aspirational in nature, and can be so disconnected from reality that it does not inspire, motivate, and align teams that are impacted by it. In addition to not having a basis in reality, Company Vision is often a “set and forget” strategic tool – ignored by both the leadership and their associated teams shortly after being set. Amongst “business sins” this is a big one.
Effective utilization of Company Vision can serve as a guide and filter for your organization.
Making sure your team is aware of “where” you are going as an organization creates a guiding north star for the company. Your team can refer to the vision to ensure that the actions, decisions, and initiatives they are taking will further progress towards the company’s desired future state. It can help create understanding and alignment around the decision to say “no” to actions that do not further that progress.
Company Vision can inspire and motivate your team
Your vision is one of your key tools that can truly “motivate” your team to achieve more. Part of your vision can be around impact in your community, client base, and amongst your team itself. Things like “We will have created 5 additional jobs to support our growth”, “We will help 100 families achieve a stable financial foundation per month”, and “We will create $100M of economic impact in our geographical service area” can help to align, inspire, and retain your talent, especially once your team has achieved a measure of financial “safety” around their day-to-day existence.
Company Vision is an effective way to communicate progress to date
Your vision doesn’t just inspire forward action and alignment, it can also be used to reflect and assist with celebrating progress made. By reviewing where you started at when the vision was last set, you can highlight progress, celebrate growth, and recognize leaders and their contributions to the organization. This celebratory focus helps reinforce the vision, its impact, and what is yet to come for your team.
These uses are not an exhaustive list of what vision can do for your company – instead treat them as a sounding board, inspiration, and ideas on what your vision can do for you if you only communicate and utilize it effectively.
Communicating Company Vision
So, we agree (hopefully) that Company Vision has a place in your “toolbox”, and that making sure you communicate it is critical to its efficacy. How do we do that?
Hard work, that’s how. I have to say it – there’s no short cuts, magic pills, or easy roads to communicating vision. You’re going to talk about it until you are blue in the face, and then you’re going to talk about it some more. The measure of success I utilized is when I started hearing my team preemptively parrot the vision to myself or my leadership team during routine activities, meetings, and other activities, I knew I had talked it about ALMOST enough.
There are a few hints, tips, and tricks that I’ve collected over the years that I’ll share with you below to assist in that work.
- Consistency is key: Making sure you communicate on a consistent cadence is the number one tool for success.
- Make the vision clear: Use simple, easy to comprehend language that will be accessible to all of your team.
- Account for different schedules: If your team resides in different time zones or locations, make sure your communication can be consumed on their schedule.
- Utilize different mediums: People learn and comprehend in different manners – Utilize your communication toolbox to account for this: Video, Live event, Voice, Text (Email, Newsletter), and other methodologies should be utilized for vision communication
- Make the vision relatable: Show your team how THEY impact and control vision attainment
- What’s in it for them: This ISN’T just about money — help your team understand how the vision impacts them, their family, and their legacy.
Vision really is a superweapon when it comes to business alignment and team motivation. One final item that I would be woe to not mention.
Hold everyone accountable
The best documented vision, simple and easy to understand, supported by actions, pictures, and with no assumptions, combined with a graceful coaching and training program is worth NOTHING if you don’t hold people accountable. Have the awkward conversations around vision adherence, and your vision will return dividends.
If you’re struggling to develop process, or get your team to follow it, Richardson & Richardson can help. Check out our case studies for stories of organizations that we’ve assisted with similar issues and download our white papers for deep dives on tools you can use in your organization. If you’re wondering where to start, book a complimentary session with one of the Richardsons today to come up with a plan on how to move forward.
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