Think about your company's vision. Do you know it by heart? Do you feel any emotion when you think about it?
Do your employee team members know your mission, vision, and guiding values?
Take a few minutes and poll the next several employee team members you encounter. Ask each employee team member to share the company's vision and to do so with vigor and passion.
In working with companies large and small, I have come to recognize the value of having a vision that employee team members feel engaged in and want to be a part of. When executed effectively, the establishing and living of the vision can have enormous employee engagement and overall performance results. Nothing creates performance like emotionally-charged employee team members with a strong sense of belief in what the company does and where it is headed.
Therefore, there is little that is more important than setting the strategic tone - the future direction - the vision of the team and organization.
Unfortunately, most vision statements (and the execution of) are not nearly as effective as they could and should be. The reasons many company visions yield little or no results come down to:
- Vision Exclusivity / Isolation
- Vision Ivory Tower Syndrome
- Vision Failure to Walk the Talk Syndrome
- Vision Execution Ambiguity
The good news is the "vision fix" is a lot easier than one might think. The challenge is breaking old habits and spending the necessary time to ensure the vision is owned, modeled, and lived.
Vision Exclusivity / Isolation - The single biggest vision effectiveness hurdle with regard to vision creation and execution is the vision is made without the involvement of a cross section of key influential employee team members. Quite often, the vision is hammered out through a "leadership retreat" with the senior leadership team and/or board. The result is a vision that is owned at the top but little or no real employee team member emotional engagement, ownership, and execution results beyond the senior leadership team.
Vision Ivory Tower Syndrome - The second vision effectiveness hurdle is the new vision is shared via some type of "talk down" event during a "vision kickoff campaign". The result is fairly predictable. Employee team members were not asked to participate in the vision creation and therefore feel like they are being talked down to. The result is they do not own the vision. In fact, sometimes employee morale may suffer as a result.
Vision Failure to Walk the Talk Syndrome - The third vision effectiveness hurdle comes from senior leaders failing to "walk the talk". Senior leaders who fail to model the way to their fellow employee team members set the tone for whether or not others will own the vision. All problems start at the head... The Culture of the team and company are set from the top. If senior leaders will not walk their talk, others will do as they do.
Vision Execution Ambiguity - The fourth vision effectiveness hurdle results from employee team members not being aware of what actions specifically model the way. Patrick Lencioni shared his vision of "organizational clarity" in his powerful book, The Four Obsessions of the Extraordinary Executive. Without clarity, ambiguity is the result. Employee team members will simply forgot or be confused about how to effectively "walk the talk". In other words, employee team members will not be as focused on doing the right things. Time, energy, and resources will be wasted.
Therefore it is essential that senior leaders communicate as often as humanly possible what is expected to be heading in the right direction at all times.
The good news is what I am sharing about vision creation and execution is common sense and easy to do if commitment is made. Unfortunately, most leaders and companies are interested but not committed to creating the future they desire. Instead, the future of most companies is more in the hands of the markets and competitors than it could and should be.