Articles tagged "Vision Statement"
Is your team prepared for the New Year?
Are they clear and aligned so they’re better able to work together instead of frustrating one another?
Do they know what to stop doing and what to start?
Are they looking forward to the new year or are they just…blah?
Keep in mind...
- The Vision is "The Big Goal." It's THE thing you are working to achieve together.
- The Mission explains what you do as an organization.
- The Values are "The House Rules." As long as employees take paychecks from your organization, they - by default - are bound to abide by the values. If they don't like the values, fine. They need to find someplace else to work.
- The Strategic Goals are the big projects that need to occur to drive your organization towards its vision. Goals are divvied up among the various departments to implement.
- All Sales & Marketing, HR, Operational, IT and other plans need to align with and support the Strategic Plan.
When the leadership team, and then the rest of the team, understands how and why to use the strategic plan as a daily management tool, there's less confusion, fewer divergent plans, and greater team. Not bad for just using something you've already created...
Copyright MMXIV Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.
If your organization is like most, the added pressures of employee vacation schedules can compound stretched-to-the-limit holiday work requirements. With some employees out of the office on vacation, some trying to cover the work of those who are on leave, and others trying to get caught up when they return, there’s a direct impact on the focus and efficiency of your organization. Because of this natural cycle that hits many companies every year, it’s critical that you regroup now with your team to re-focus everyone’s attention on where you're at and what you're working towards—the Vision.
Want to promptly reshape your employees into a “team” focus with a unified, strategic goal? Follow these five steps:
- Reiterate clearly what the organization’s vision of success is and what the organization’s current position is in attaining that vision
- Review with each department how critical their success in meeting their production and service goals is to the entire organization
- Review with each employee what each individual’s goals are and how they directly impact each team’s and the organization’s success
- Remind everyone in the organization, that the key to success is consistency in their focus on the organization’s vision of success
- Develop specific strategies (with due dates) for regaining the focus with everyone.
If people know specifically what they’re working towards and the specific strategy to achieve it, success is in sight. Now’s the time for success.
Copyright MMII Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.
The vision and mission are two separate and distinct components of your most important leadership tool: the strategic plan. And unlike many others who work in strategic planning, I'm a stickler when it comes to clients understanding the purpose of a vision statement and a mission statement. When someone says, “I don’t care what you call it: mission or vision—they mean the same thing.” My response is, “No they don't. They serve two very different roles in the plan, for the leadership team, and for all the employees."
Let’s talk about visions first:
A vision that works creates a clear picture in every person’s mind when they hear it.
During a client’s initial planning session, I asked the senior team what success looked like to them. I asked what they'd like to accomplish to become a successful restaurant once again. After they debated and struggled with several ideas, the owner leaned back, sighed, and said, “I just want the parking lot full of cars five nights a week!” That was it! That simple statement, that simple desire clarified an image, and a picture of success for her and every person in that room. Here’s the vision they created:
By November 1, 201X, Cedrick’s parking lot will be full five nights a week with the vehicles of customers who are enjoying a memorable dining experience. (Client name has been changed.)
When you hear that, what picture do you see in your mind? What do you anticipate the chef, wait staff, busboys, and bartenders see? Because of the simplicity of this vision, any employee could look out into the parking lot and determine if it was full and if they were moving towards their vision. If there were empty parking spaces, each employee would know he or she had better ramp-up service to ensure current customers were well served so they not only wanted to return, but they would tell others about Cedrick’s fabulous restaurant as well.
A vision that works is concise and clear.
It can be easily understood and remembered by everyone in the organization. Two classic examples of concise visions are:
- Number 1 or 2; fix, sell, or close. (Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric)
- 2000 Stores by 2000 (Starbucks – Achieved 2200 stores by the end of 1999)
My rule is that a vision should be no more than one sentence long - and it can't be a run-on sentence. The above examples are short but powerful. They were also tremendously successful.
A vision that works can also answer the question, “How do we know when we get there?”
Re-read the visions listed above. Do you see how you could easily track progress towards or away from these visions? We could easily count the number of empty parking lot spaces. We could track our position in our respective industries. We could track the number of stores we had opened. Most of us have never worked for any of these companies, yet we can understand what they they wanted to accomplish because their visions were so clear. These vision statements worked because they were clear and focused. They worked because they were tangible and measurable. They worked because they allowed all of the employees to "see" the future. They were clear. They were concise. They worked.
So, what are mission statements?
Unlike the vision statement, which creates a clear picture of what you want to accomplish or become (a target or goal), the mission statement, clarifies what you do as an organization — why you exist — who you serve. That’s its job. The mission statement clarifies for everyone who works with you, and those with whom you interact, just exactly what business you’re in. I tell my clients, “Your 87 year old Aunt Clara needs to be able to understand this. If your elderly relative - who doesn't work with you - understands what your organization's mission is - your employees and leadership team will be clear on what it is you do - and don't do as well. Keep it simple.”
A good mission statement clarifies why you exist.
Many organizations have nebulous mission statements that sound nice but only serve to confuse everyone as to what they're supposed to be doing and who they're supposed to be serving or supporting:
We are committed to delivering the highest-quality, state-of-the-art services and products that support our customers while servicing them with honesty, integrity, and professionalism.
That’s all well and good, but what do you actually do? This statement provides no clarity as to what the organization does, who it serves, or what it produces. It puts no "book-ends" on the organization's focus or offerings. In fact, the above sample mission statement is simply a waste of space. I hope every organization is committed to providing the highest-quality services and products, to supporting its customers, and to servicing them with honesty, integrity, and professionalism. There's nothing helpful to the leadership team or employees in this mission statement. If you shared this mission with your Aunt Clara, she'd probably say something like, "Well isn't that nice?" and she'd still be confused as to what you do.
A good mission statement is clear, simple, and understood by anyone who hears it.
Now here’s an example of a solid mission statement:
The Board of Supervisors of Elections for Washington County’s overall mission is to assure that all eligible citizens are provided the opportunity to vote in local, state, and federal elections, and to monitor and verify the voting procedures in Washington County. (Washington County, Maryland)
That's it. It's clear. It’s well written and it states very simply who it services and why its exists. If you worked there and shared this mission with your Aunt Clara, she'd probably say, “Well you’ve got a very important job then don’t you?”
To wrap up:
Vision and mission statements have two very different meanings and serve two very different purposes. If you do not delineate between the two, believe me, you’ll end up creating a leadership nightmare. You will not have a unified focus on what specifically your organization is trying to accomplish together, and you'll creep into services and offerings outside your intended mission. Your leadership team will start to fracture as you each justify your actions as you've interpreted the vision and mission. Why set your leadership team up for confusion and conflicts? Create clarity with your leadership team and set your organization up for success. Get clear on who you want to serve and how. Then define how far you want to go.
Clarify your mission and then define your vision. Get clear. Your Aunt Clara, your leadership team, and your employees will thank you.
Yesterday after giving a speech on leadership, I had lunch with several business owners. All of their businesses generate revenues of $5Million to $50Million in annual revenues. These are small but substantial businesses with 50-200 employees each - not solo-entrepreneurs.
During my presentation, I had noticed most of the audience members taking notes, nodding, or otherwise paying close attention to my comments on strategic planning, leadership styles, and organizational development. So it was again ironic, when many of the individual questions they asked of me during lunch were questions that clearly indicated they were operating as frazzled entrepreneurs, not competent business leaders. They were behaving as doers - not leaders. All but one of the business owners is intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of the business. All but one said they often feel as if they're hamsters: Always running to play catch-up just to keep up. When I asked my lunch mates collectively, "So why are you in business? Why are you doing all of this work? What's it all for?" Only the one owner answered confidently, "I'm creating a business I can pass on to my children, so they can live the lifestyle they want." The others' responses were along the lines of, "We need to make money so we can retire some day."
I understand that last sentiment. However, it's not enough if you want to be an effective leader for your company.
- Effective leaders realize creating a business is more than simply providing quality products or services so you make money. That's expected.
- Effective leaders realize creating a business means creating a strong, viable entity that can survive without the founder or owner being intimately involved day-to-day or involved at all.
- Effective leaders realize creating a business is about what the employees need so they can work with purpose and effectively serve the customers and the changing market.
- Effective leaders realize creating a company is thinking of the company as something separate from themselves. They need to view their businesses as entities others will want to take ownership of and engage with. They need to create a vision, a future for the company. It's hard to do that when you're the business.
So in reality, even though they were nodding and taking notes during my speech, most of the business owners I met didn't really understand the importance of strategic planning or succession planning. They understand the idea, but not the necessity. They understand the concepts of leadership, but deep in their guts they just don't "get them."
Until business owners create a clear vision of what the future of their businesses will be, they'll continue to play catch-up just to keep up. Instead of leading, they'll continue to be deeply involved in the day-to-day operations doing things their employees should be doing. And, from my experience, they will never stop wondering: "Why am I doing this? What's it all for?"
Copyright MMXI - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.