Vision: The Ultimate Goal
Where is your business headed? What do you want it to become?
Are you just responding to the market place, letting it take your business where it might? These are very serious questions for which it is best that you know the answers.
In the quest for more revenue, businesses are pulled in many different directions; Jumping at opportunities, sometimes trying to please everybody. But are these real opportunities? Or are they threats to your business’ long term viability? It has been proven many times that successful businesses are focused, have a target market and a game plan. They know what they want to be, and what they are not.
A vision statement for your business outlines what you want the organization to be at some point in the future; a destination. Having a vision for your business is important. Just like you knowing the destination before you take at trip. It will give guidance for decision making, a road map to your destination, and an ultimate goal for your team.
It should be developed by key players on your team and act as an inspiration and motivation for your entire organization. You could develop the vision yourself, but it would be so much better if you could involve others and have the benefit of their ideas and insights. Their involvement would ensure they really understood what the organization wanted to become, and would make them more comfortable communicating about it to others in the organization. Also, since they participated in developing the vision they will be significantly more committed to achieving it. Yes, this takes time, but it will be worth every minute of it.
Your vision statement should describe the best possible outcome. In fact, you might want to envision something even better than what you consider to be the best possible outcome. Remember that the purpose of the vision statement is to inspire, energize, motivate, and stimulate your creativity, not to serve as a measuring stick for success; that is the job of your objectives and goals.
You don’t get million dollar ideas from a ten dollar vision. A friend once attended a training seminar where one of the exercises was to come up with as many ideas as we could for earning ten dollars by the end of the day. This was supposedly an exercise in brainstorming. After a few minutes, the instructor polled the audience for some of their ideas. Some ideas were better than others, but everyone agreed that even the bad ones could have earned someone ten dollars in a day. The instructor then asked if any of the ideas presented so far could earn someone a million dollars. The consensus was that the vast majority of ideas had absolutely no chance to make anyone a million dollars. At the end of the exercise, the instructor simply said, “You don’t get million dollar ideas from a ten dollar vision.”
Features of an effective vision statement include:
Clarity and lack of ambiguity
Vivid and clear picture
Description of a bright future
Memorable and engaging wording
Alignment with organizational values and culture
Since the vision is what you want your business to become in the future, say three to five years, it is best if you describe it as already having occurred or being achieved. Here are some examples:
The BEST CEO Group - Every CEO saying their participation was one of the best investments they have ever made.
XYZ BathWare - The most respected bath ware company in the industry, providing a superior level of service at every point of contact. We foster a flexible and dynamic culture that readily embraces change so we can maintain our competitive advantage in design, quality, and performance and become the logical choice for every bathroom in the house.
McDonald's - The world's best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.
Coca Cola- To achieve sustainable growth, we have established a vision with clear goals.
Profit: Maximizing return to shareowners while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.
People: Being a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.
Portfolio: Bringing to the world a portfolio of beverage brands that anticipate and satisfy peoples’ desires and needs.
Partners: Nurturing a winning network of partners and building mutual loyalty.
Planet: Being a responsible global citizen that makes a difference.
Microsoft - A personal computer in every home running Microsoft software.
SDGE - Utility leader in providing customer-centric products and services in distributed energy, smart buildings, and clean transportation.
General Motors - The world leader in transportation products and related services. We will earn our customers’ enthusiasm through continuous improvement driven by the integrity, teamwork, and innovation of GM people.
Toyota America - The most successful and respected automobile company in the U.S.
Paula’s Restaurant - Top "five star" restaurant in the Greater Toronto area by consistently providing the combination of perfectly prepared food and outstanding service that creates an extraordinary dining experience.
Computer Services Ltd - Five years from now, will have annual revenues of over one million by consistently providing timely, reasonably priced repair and instructional services.
Metromanage.com - Leading provider of management software to North American small businesses by providing customizable, user-friendly software scaled to small business needs.
Apple Computer- Apple will exemplify how best to utilize information technology in running a business.
Beckman Instrument- Our business is the chemistry of life, and we seek to be the world’s acknowledged leader in providing laboratory systems that advance scientific discovery and speed the diagnosis of disease. In so doing, we will help science improve the quality of life.
Having a vision is valuable, but having your team believe and live it is invaluable. Communication is the key. You need to communicate the vision to your team not once but many times. Also, you need to have it displayed visibly so that all can see it. Then you need to live it. Like good leadership, words and direction are not enough. You need to demonstrate it through your actions and the actions of all the key people in the organization.
Actions to take now:
Decide who on your team besides you should be involved in developing the vision for the business.
Have a short meeting with these people and tell them of your desire to develop a vision. Make copies of this write-up and give it to them with directions to go off by themselves and work on a draft of the vision they have for the business. You should do likewise.
Come back together a short time later with this same group and share your individual thoughts and draft a collective vision.
Share this final product with your team.
Decide how you will make this more than a one time event. What you will do to keep it alive and in the forefront of your organization. Otherwise, this exercise will be for naught.