One of the most important features of high performing organisations is an aligned vision. Think of any successful organisation like, for example, Innocent Drinks and their vision and purpose shines through everything that they do.
But it isn’t always so easy for an established organisation and one with a less appealing product to create a vision and embed it into their operation.
A vision for a company is going to express the organisation’s purpose and goal. It is going to link to the company’s core values and reflect the founder’s deepest desires when they originally set up the company.
The vision helps people involved with the organisation to look beyond short term issues and their next pay cheque, and see the big picture of what they are there to achieve. With this wider vision people tend to take better decisions and see how they can drive the business forward.
This seems obvious for some organisations but for others developing a vision is a much harder task. But every company benefits from having a rallying cry. Sometimes the purpose can be big stuff like “ending third world poverty” or “changing the face of modern communications”, but for your average company it may need to be a little more modest, like e.g. “becoming the most reliable builder in Hampshire”.
So, if you decide to “do your vision” you start with some meetings of senior management. You perhaps discuss it with some other employees, perhaps even run a working group with a selection of people from throughout the organisation to bring different ideas to the table. You whittle all the ideas down to a simple memorable phrase.
Then you have a big company meeting and unveil your shiny new vision. And you have dozen posters printed and put them on the walls throughout the offices.
Job done – Yes?
Now the hard work starts.
Whatever your vision is, the most important thing is to keep it high in people’s thought during each and every working day. This is a commitment you will need to make for the lifetime of the company.
Living your company vision and values means making them colour every single decision that is taken in the organisation. Decisions taken in every meeting within the company should be referenced back to the vision and checked for relevance and support of that vision. There is no point in styling yourself as the most reliable builder in Hampshire and then breaking a commitment at the last minute to finish another job “because no one will notice”. If you choose high standards and set your store by them then breaking them will risk undermining your vision and your personal credibility. Your staff will be particularly quick to spot any inconsistency between your vision and your actions. You will undermine your reputation it will take years to regain, if you ever can.
So, establish your vision and then live by it. Bring it up in every meeting, check every decision you make against it. Refuse to be drawn away from it under any circumstances. Make sure all your managers, senior and junior, are similarly active in using it.
Here are 11 ways of embedding it into your company activities:
- When recruiting, ask questions to establish you are taking on people who will uphold the vision.
- Talk about it when inducting new people.
- Measure every employee’s performance against it.
- Refer to it in every management meeting.
- Train sales staff to live by it in their dealings with prospects.
- Train production staff to believe it is the most important consideration when producing product.
- Teach the buying team to hold it high in their minds when purchasing goods.
- Embed it into the activities of receptionists and customer service staff.
- Have whole company meetings every few months to remind people and reinforce the message.
- Reward examples of people’s actions that support the vision.
- Encourage discussions about how you can live the values better.
DON’T just put up the posters and forget about it.
If you want to learn more about how to create a high-performing organisation why not join our Personal and Professional Impact course?