How many of us have word-smithed a company Vision Statement, perhaps even after a weekend workshop locked up with our senior managers, or we may even have paid big money to have a consultant workshop it with us and create that perfect Vision Statement?
Great, I can see all those hands held up. Now, how many of us use that Vision Statement day by day to assist our companies move in the direction the Vision Statement envisions? Not too many hands up now!
How many of us can honestly say our teams understand the tangible behavioral aspects of our Vision Statements to the extent they use it on a day by day basis to assess their own performance in team-working, customer relationships, objective-achievement, procedural efficiency?
Too often the expensive investment in a Vision Statement stops as soon as it is typed up, printed, and framed on a wall.
Your company Vision Statement is not just an idea, it must be a tangible future.
Here's 5 steps to turn that piece of paper into reality.
1. You and your management team must understand what every phrase means in day to day activity. When your Vision is of a "leading sales force" what does that mean? What is leading? What are the numbers that make it "leading"? How do you interact with your customers in a "leading" way? What do you do internally to "lead" in sales?
2. You and your management team must walk in front and be seen to walk in front. Every day every one of you with a responsibility to get the business to the land described in the Vision must do at least one thing that exemplifies the meaning of every word or phrase. Ensure you reward people who meet the metrics you defined above or behaved in the way described towards their customer. At the same time you and your management must never (not ONCE!) do anything that is against, the opposite of, or an excuse for, the metrics, behaviors and procedural processes defined in your understanding of the Vision Statement.
3. Take the time to tell "stories" to your team that explain what the Vision Statement means. Hold lunchtime meetings for 5 minutes to read out one of the phrases in the Vision Statement and explain how you see it taking place today - discuss examples of behaviors that will and will not constitute alignment with the Vision Statement. Do this intently and do this often.
4. Instigate systems that make it easier to behave in alignment with the Vision Statement. If the Vision talks about fast customer service and your internal systems require 4 sign-offs and management approval to do the right thing, your team will wonder what you really mean by "fast". At the same time encourage Vision aligned behavior by instigating a philosophy of "there are no mistakes, only learning experiences". Have your people see that if the behavior is aligned, they will not be punished even if it results in a loss - the result should be an analysis of "what can be improved" when you follow that behavior and take steps to increase chances of improvement.
5. Reward success; and reward trying if they follow the Vision Statement. The instilling of a corporate culture is in the result of outcomes - what does doing "A" bring to the team member"; what does doing "B" bring? Which is better for them?
How have you found it trying to instill the corporate culture described by your Vision Statement? Leave a comment or share the discussion.