A business leader’s guide to casting a clear and effective vision
Most people get into business because they enjoy some creative aspect of entrepreneurship. Either they like inventing products, designing creative work, crafting sales pitches, or working with numbers. Very few people enter the business world with an express desire to manage and lead. Yet, if you want to have a future in business, you eventually have to move from minion to master. And in doing so, you’ll be asked to cast a clear vision for people to follow.
What is Vision?
Vision is best understood in terms of a vision statement, which is a concise statement that declares what your company stands for and what it aspires to be. And according to sales expert and consultant Mark Thacker, a good vision statement should be concise and future-focused.
“The best vision statements are simply stated and represent the essence of the company, its products, services, people, and market position,” Thacker explains. “Believe it or not this can often be accomplished in a single sentence. Keep it simple and your vision statement will not only be easily remembered, it will be more likely to succeed when leveraging the rest of these essential characteristics.”
It’s also important to recognize that useful vision statements are aspirational. This means they focus on the long-term, even if that future doesn’t perfectly align with the present. This future-focus shines through in the verbiage that businesses use. They often utilize phrases like, “We will become…”
4 Tips for Casting Vision
As a business leader, it’s not enough to create a vision. You also have to cast a vision – which is a simple way of saying you need to share it with others in a way that compels them to respond. Here are a few vision-casting tips:
Get Clear on the Vision
You can’t communicate a vision and motivate people if you aren’t personally clear on precisely what the vision is and how you achieve such. This is where goal setting comes into play.
“A vision provides us our ‘why,’ but how we define our ‘what’ and ‘how’ is accomplished in goal setting,” PinnacleART explains. “A goal is a specific component of a vision. It is something that can be achieved that will contribute to striving towards a vision. A goal is broken down into two main components: (1) Objectives, (2) Key Results.”
Objectives are the “what” – they express the intent of a goal. Key results are the “how” – they articulate the quantifiable milestones that contribute to the progress of the underlying objective.
According to PinnacleART, you should put goals into the following framework: “I will accomplish Objective X as measured by the Key Results Y.” Once you have concrete goals, you have clarity to support your vision.
Hire the Right People
A lot of business leaders make the mistake of hiring people and then casting a vision that aligns with what they want. The much better option is to cast a vision and then fill your business with people who align with this vision.
If you already have a team of employees, it could take some time before you can make all of the necessary changes, but there’s no better time than now to get started.
Empower Your Team
The next step is to empower your team through ongoing training and education. Even the right people need to be reminded and inspired to continue seeking after the vision. It’s also necessary to supply them with the right systems, tools, and technologies.
Observe and Optimize
Once you’ve cast your vision, hire the right people, and empowered them, it’s time for you – the fearless leader – to take a step back.
According to business consultant Rodger Dean Duncan, it’s at this point that “…the leader shifts to a stance of pinging for alignment, checking to ensure that people are making good decisions and staying aligned with the organization. If people are not doing either or both, and the leader has adequately prepared them for success, then the leader must determine if the right person is in the job. If not, a change is necessary.”
In other words, your job is to observe and optimize so that your business can move forward on a linear path towards your mission.
Putting It All Together
Casting vision takes practice. It’s not something most business leaders find immediate success with. Having said that, you can (and should) acquire the skill. Hopefully this article has provided some tangible advice to help you accomplish this.