Having a well-defined, clear vision is perhaps the single most important key to building a successful business foundation. The trick to ensuring your company’s vision becomes a tool that drives your business forward and not just a nice intro in your employee manual is to enforce it through clear and consistent communication at every level.
As a business owner your vision sets the stage for how your company will grow in the short and long-term. It is one of the founding principles for the company’s brand and the legacy you will leave behind. If defined and communicated properly, the vision is the groundwork that you, your leadership, and your employees will leverage to build and execute a business plan that will ensure achievement of your goals and a platform to maintain a sustainable and profitable future.
The only way this works though is to have a communication strategy that facilitates a clear understanding of the vision with buy-in at all levels of your organization. Sounds simple right? All too often though, the obstacles of everyday management can get in the way and prevent you from succeeding.
It’s not enough to just have a vision. For it to become an ethos your business can leverage for growth and success it has to be clearly understood, lived, and integrated into your company’s culture. To do this in a way that resonates and has lasting impact, you must be dedicated to the communication of your vision both at the philosophical level and at a level that demonstrates how the vision can be implemented practically to motivate all employees to actively participate in the company’s well-being. Without an effective organizational communication plan that details it’s use and meaning at every step, your vision will never get further than the cover page of your business plan.
The leaders we often look to for “best practices” are ones that understand just how crucial buy-in really is throughout the business. These leaders work hard to leverage their vision into their business model, giving clearly defined goals both overall and at each level of their organization. They help management and each employee understand how their function and contribution impacts the company’s path to achieving a one-firm mentality that rolls up into successful execution of the vision. The vision and requirements to execute it are transparent throughout the company. Everyone from top management to reception understands what his or her role is, what is expected of them, and how their job function translates to delivering positive impact and results for customers, community, each other, and the company.
Establish channels of communication to flow back and forth through each level of the business to ensure your message makes it’s way to the front lines. It is equally important to provide a transparent, accessible environment to allow for feedback and ideas to flow back up to key management and you. This “two-way street” of open dialogue fosters strong relationships built around trust and gives way to motivated and energized teams and employees who will be inspired to work hard, share ideas, and be innovative.
When done right, the clearly articulated vision evolves into a shared vision and anything shared lends itself to a successful outcome. Companies with this solid foundation share a common mindset of “we,” becoming one firm with one brand, demonstrating a unified front that can drive long-lasting positive results that are aligned with the goals and strategy of the business.