Establishing your vision for your business is the first step in developing a solid strategy. Vision is the inspirational engine that drives strategy. Your company’s vision should be a realistic statement of aspiration based on what you are today and what you want to become in the future. It should be practical, targeted, and measurable, with a specific timeline.
To establish an engaging vision for your company, follow this five-step process:
- Stop and Listen. Stop! Take time to think through what your customers or clients are conveying to you about your business. About the values they crave. About what’s happening in the marketplace around you. And, what your employees are telling you. This takes humility, because you may not like all that you hear…pay attention and acknowledge the hard truths.
- Discuss. Guide your leadership team through a series of structured conversations focused on key questions about the business: What is our mission (why are we in business)? Where do we see our business in 10 years (in specific, measurable terms)? What are our core values (the behaviors that will ensure our success).
- Cull. Sift through all the ideas and select the ones that are the most applicable and workable, given where you stand in the marketplace. This process will help you see which themes stand out: this is the basis for your vision.
- Refine. Once you’ve narrowed your ideas into a few themes, it’s time to refine them. You are seeking to verbalize your vision in specific, measurable terms, understanding that this vision will guide your thought and decisions from now into the future. Keep your vision tight – clear and specific. You don’t want a 25-watt bulb to guide you; you want a laser beam.
- Test. Test your vision by soliciting feedback from the top down. Make sure the vision is understood and shared by your entire team – from the leadership team to every individual in the rank and file.
A clear strategic vision statement truly makes a concrete difference. It defines the long-term target for your company, which then forms the basis for you to establish a set of measurable strategic goals, and keeps you focused as you execute your plan on a daily basis.