There is a variable that exists in every business venture but is often misunderstood or overlooked completely. A component that when activated and integrated into a strategic plan produces not only corporate alignment, but often a singular competitive edge and point of difference.
It's the Vision. It's a company's underlying, unique point of view and individual strategic perspective. It’s the answer to why the company acts the way it acts and it’s often the fuel that drives decisions and creates leverage versus the competition. When formalized into a “Vision Statement” it becomes the blueprint used to gauge the “correctness” of strategic and tactical planning and general corporate goal setting.
Vision is more than a simple projection of a goal. It is a reflection of the personality, nature and values of the organization. A clear vision statement not only points the way, it leads the way. This is critical when firms are transitioning because when purpose is communicated properly, there's less internal backlash and trauma on the company and reduced negative banter at the water cooler.
A well-crafted vision statement (or you can call it a long-term corporate objective…but don’t let the words get in the way) gives staff the rationale for corporate endeavors and provides the internal barometer for matching goals with market opportunities. Unlike a marketing objective, which must be realistic, specific and measurable, a vision statement should be open-ended, directional, or even inspirational.
There are five directives for creating a powerful vision:
- Be honest. If you’re talking to yourself, no one else will listen.
- Be open-minded. Make it unattainable. Don’t limit yourself. Use staff, friends or outside counsel to help you articulate beyond what is obvious.
- Be clear. Your vision should make sense to everyone.
- Be relevant. A vision statement should say something about your core business.
- Be committed. Stay the course. Let it be your benchmark.
You’ll know when it’s right, because the people you recruit to help you achieve it will get it.