5 Steps to Creating a Company Vision
Do you remember the commercial Pepsi made ages ago where they tried to ridicule Coca Cola? A boy approaches a vending machine and inserts some coins. He then pulls out two Coca Cola cans, puts them on the ground and steps on both of them, so he can reach the Pepsi button.
He then takes his Pepsi can and leaves satisfied. The commercial was banned soon after it was published, because it was competitor based, but not without making a substantial amount of fuss. Bear in mind that a strong Coca Cola fan is writing these lines, so in terms of profit even here Coca Cola wins 2:1.
But, whether this commercial was lucrative for Pepsi or not, it actually did something far more significant. It communicated a pretty powerful message to the world – be better than Coca Cola. It communicated Pepsi’s vision at the time. As a company, Pepsi is determined to beat everyone else in the industry. Coca Cola especially, as its rival number one.
Back in the 60s Nike’s vision was distilled to two words; "Crush Adidas", and in the 70s Honda was feeling quite confident in saying – "We will destroy Yamaha". These days this kind of practice is a lot less common and vision statements are more “internally“ focused.
However, the main purpose of every vision was, is and will be about the “what“ of a business. It is a mighty tool that helps every company stay on its track. It serves as a background for decision-making process, no matter how big or small a business is.
Make employees feel part of a bigger picture
A well-created vision statement will not only influence the overall success of a company, it will also make its employees feel like part of a bigger picture. With a good company vision in their minds, employees will engage more in achieving the company’s future aspirations.
So, if you’re in a desperate need of an excellent vision for your business, the next few paragraphs will try to help you get there. But before that, let’s determine first what a vision is and what it is not.
What is a business vision?
A business vision is the answer to the question where you want to see your business in the future. It is a statement that captures the essence of all your goals and aspirations. It is the place you want to occupy in the business world. It should not be confused with a company’s mission that explains the “how“ of things. A mission statement is the answer to the question what a company needs to do in order to achieve its vision.
The key components of any vision are the company’s ideology and the perception of its future. Take a look at your business and the people you work with (your employees or the members of your organization) and ask yourself what motivates those people to stick around and help you with your goals. What are the ideals and the values that inspire them to perform their functions? The answers to those questions are the composing elements of your company’s vision.
While these elements are unchanging, the envisioned future is somewhat more versatile. It is a reflection of your aspirations and what your company’s final destination is. It is set for a certain period of time and it most probably will change over time, simply because today businesses have to be easily adaptable to altered circumstances.
Now that we have established what every business vision should consist of, we can talk about ways to craft one.
1. SETTING A TIMESPAN
What is the time interval within which you want to achieve your aspiration? There is no set timespan here, so feel free to think long-term; 5 to 10 years, even 20 to 30 years.
2. WRITING YOUR FIRST VERSION
This is undoubtedly the hardest part of the process, because you need to employ all your creativity and ambition. It can be a fun task, but it also needs to be approached in a serious and realistic manner.
Don’t be afraid to dream big. Yes, it really has to be something awesome, incredible and daring. After all, it is reflecting all your hopes and aspirations for the future. You can even imagine that you’re already at your final destination, that you’ve already achieved your goals.
Before putting everything in writing, be sure to think about the company, its size and structure. What your employees feel about their jobs and working environment? How do you measure success? How others see your business? Are you innovative or stuck in the past?
While crafting your statement tend to be specific and clear, leave no room for further clarifications. Do you remember that Nike vision? "Crush Adidas", period. No doubt about their vision.
3. LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT REACTIONS AND COMMENTS
Once you have your first draft, show it to the members of your organization and ask them for an honest opinion. Those people will be implementing your vision into their work, so the most relevant feedback will come from them.
Chances are you’re not an experienced “vision creator“ or your creativity’s been misplaced for quite some time, so most probably you’ll have to take pen and paper again and start rewriting.
Make sure that your statement stays passionate and memorable; that it describes the ideal state of your business, but at the same time is realistic as to your company’s capabilities and growth potential. And always keep in mind that the vision you’re creating will help people build a mental picture of your business and where it is going.
5. SHARING YOUR VISION
Once you have your final version, go ahead and share it with all of the members of your organization first. However, the work doesn’t stop here. Your business vision needs to stay present and embraced by every employee. Make sure that every leader in your organization sees the vision as an inspiring story about the positive things you all are creating and that they communicate it sufficiently enough.
You can also use it as a powerful promotional tool by displaying it publicly or making it a part of your marketing material.
Lastly, a business vision should be revisited from time to time because, as your business grows, your aspirations, hopes and dreams will evolve as well.