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.
Vision is 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. Some companies when they start just know where they want to go and they go. As companies grow, however, crystallizing the vision is critical. When formalized and shared with the culture the vision becomes the blueprint used to gauge the “correctness” of all of the strategic and tactical planning and general corporate goal setting. It’s the GPS for the organization.
Producing an effective vision statement can be difficult, especially when there may be different versions and ideas coming from Founders or maybe investors. And it’s not about the destination only. It 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 – rebranding, new product, line extension, brand extension, new markets, scaling etc. because in transition a vision can be swallowed up in the attempt to change. There is a lot written these days about disruption in the professional services business. Change is upon everyone. It’s the one constant in the universe and when it happens to your company, it can be tough to manage. A clear vision can be the beacon your firm needs to navigate to the next level.
A well-crafted vision statement should not to be confused with Mission Statement. Vision is the “what” and Mission is the “how.” Here is an example from Zappos: The vision of Zappos.com is “delivering happiness to customers, employees, and vendors.” Whereas their mission statement, also referred to by Zappos employees as their “WOW Philosophy,” is to “provide the best customer service possible." For more examples click here: http://www.themarketingblender.com/vision-mission-statements/.
Vision 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, and if possible inspirational.
|Vision Statement||Marketing Objective|
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 inspirational. 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. It should explain why you exist.
- Be relevant. A vision statement should say something about your core business.
- Be committed. Stay the course. Let your vision be your mantra for success.
You’ll know when it’s right because the people you recruit to help you achieve it will embrace the dream with you.