Many companies have a vision written down in an employee’s manual but when asking a number of randomly selected employees in a randomly selected company, it is very likely that they do not know the company’s vision.
Does that apply to your company too?
Mission and vision – there are two sides to every question
The words mission and vision rhyme, and to many companies they are equal strangers but there is a difference between the two even though many people mix them up.
A mission is an expression of the company’s right to exist.
These days many people (especially share holders) tend to think that companies’ top priority is to make money for the owners but that will do not for a mission because it is no guideline.
Instead the mission should tell you who the company’s target group is and what over all need you want to satisfy.
A vision, on the other hand, is a dream of a future scenario.
Such as John F. Kennedy’s famous statement saying that the US should send mankind to the moon before the end of the 1960s. Now that was a real dream which definitely worked as a guideline to the American people.
Vision – that is something you dream about
You can express your mission in many ways, and the most important thing is to prevent the vision from turning into an empty illusion.
Some companies express their vision through their revenue (”We want a billion EURO turnover by 2020”), others by concentrating on the yield (“We want to pay at least 8 per cent interest in the net capital”).
But it is far more efficient to dream of how you would like your company to be perceived by your target group – e.g. “We want to be known for providing the best customer service”, “We want to be perceived as the most innovative company on the market” or “ We want to be considered the most dedicated company within this business”.
If a company actually obtains a favourable position with its target group it is most likely that the company’s revenue, yield etc. also will improve.
The order is therefore important: First of all, think of your customers/market and then the financial results will follow.
What a good vision can mean to your business
First of all, a good vision makes the entire company work toward a common goal, which is really worth a lot.
Moreover, there are two very useful side effects to it:
The vision helps to ensure the support of the employees to the decisions made by the management.
Second, the vision works as a daily guideline and allows the employees to make decisions because they know where to go. It is thus beyond any doubt that a well thought out and accepted vision is of great importance to any company – so it is just a matter of getting started but it is easier said than done.
A creative process takes time
A vision very often is something that evolves itself along the way but you can of course help the process along.
That can be done in many ways but it is advisable to start out by defining what you would consider a success – think of the athlete to whom success for instance could be equal to a world championship. In this connection it can be useful to force oneself (and others) to think in terms of metaphors. In this way you reduce the risk of the vision becoming blocked by ordinary way of thinking.
Finally, it is worth stressing that the creation of a vision not necessarily happens within a group (the board of directors), and it is also certain that the vision should not be written down by a group of people because it ends with far too many compromises that make the vision unclear to the employees.
Vision is the responsibility of the executives
It is very important that the vision is put forward in a clear language but that is often where things go wrong.
If the language is not clear how should it work as a guiding star to the employees?
It will therefore always be the job of the management to ensure that the employees know, understand and accept the company’s vision – it is a matter of the company’s future and about own leader skills because the employees are happy to follow a leader who knows where he is heading.