What is Your Vision?

I hate typical mission and vision statements that all sound alike and mean absolutely nothing. What is the point? I'm not saying that a vision statement is going to solve all of your or the world's problems, but I do believe that a carefully thought out vision can help efficiently guide an organization.

Let's take a look at the three key elements of a corporate vision and how you can develop a vision statement that will help lead each and every person in your organization towards your goals.

1. Core Values

2. Core Purpose

3. Visionary Goals

The Core Values of an organization are the anchored values that typically do not change over time. They could include the way in which one treats a customer, employee, or vendor. It could be that a core value is to have a high level of creativity within the company. These are values that would not be altered just because the market conditions have changed or that you’ve broadened the market that you serve. These are your rock and your foundation.

The Core Purpose of an organization is focused on defining why the organization exists. Often this is something or a group of behaviors that are very static and somewhat general in nature. Organizations clarify the core purpose as they are defining what they would like to be and not likely to redefine the core purpose over time. An example might be: We provide leadership guidance so that our clients can more effectively lead and grow their businesses. It should not specifically speak about a product or service, but stay at a higher level.

The Visionary Goals are the third leg of the vision. These are different from goals that you would develop by business unit, department, or individual person. These are very long term stretch goals. Some may actually have milestones that stretch out for a decade or more. One such goal might be to become the leader in your particular industry. It is important to note how important it is to replace these visionary goals once they have been achieved. It has been the downfall of organizations that achieved their goals and then slowly were passed by many of their competitors. They lost the visionary “fire” to continue stretching because their people believed that they had made it.

Now all of this sounds good, but how to you make it happen in your organization?

Here are our recommendations for creating a vision statement that is effective for your organization.

1. Create a vision team made up of leaders withion your organization. The leaders do not need to be leaders by title, they just have to demonstrate leadership qualities and be respected by others in the organization.

2. Convene a meeting (will probably be a series of meetings) to openly discuss and create your three elements of a solid vision: Core Value, Core Purpose, and Visionary Goals.

3. Develop a companion document for your vision statement that helps to break down your vision into smaller pieces that can serve to more clearly explain what your vision means to the people within your organization.

4. Meet with everyone in your organization to articulate your vision. This can be and should be company-wide and also in smaller groups, potentially even one-on-one.

5. Reinforce your vision by living it everyday. Recognize others that are embracing the vision and help everyone make it part of their fabric of being within your organization.

Creating and living a vision takes time and a tremendous amount of effort. It is worth it, but remember that it will not happen overnight. A great vision will take time to create and even more time to help the organization’s people adopt it and make it their own.