Successful business leaders will tell you that having a clearly defined vision will help your business grow and that a corporate vision lies at the heart of any business. Unfortunately, some business leaders have not realised that having a vision is one of the greatest assets for improving the growth prospects of a company. In fact, if you are a business leader, one of the most important functions that you can perform is to identify and then communicate a clear vision. I am reminded of the words of the American motivational speaker, Les Brown.
“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” – Les Brown
We will return to this thought about aiming too low shortly but first let’s think about the benefits of a corporate vision.
What are the benefits of a clear corporate vision?
1. Focus - A vision that is shared by all members of your business will help you collectively set goals that will drive forward. Business strategy can then be planned and evaluated because it has context and relevance when assessed against the vision. Distractions or non-core activities should be minimised as a result.
2. Motivation - A clear vision will motivate employees by stimulating their competitive spirit. In addition, teamwork and collaboration will be enhanced as employees work towards achieving a common goal. The most successful companies understand that the desire to be part of something significant is a big contributor to employee welfare and happiness. A clear vision will re-awaken their desire for achieving great things.
3. Performance - A strong vision will set a framework for better performance and goal setting, meaning that the business can be aligned and moving in one direction. Performance of staff can now be aligned more closely contributing to business goals and accountability and responsibility be better measured and ingrained into the culture of the organisation.
Are you worried that you need more than a vision? Or that your vision may not be achieved? Take inspiration from two companies below that went onto great success once they defined their corporate vision.
1. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo CEO, Dick Kovacevich re-wrote the company mission statement in 1994. The vision he defined can be summarised by the following sentence, “We want to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially”.
Years later Kovacevich reported that the vision had helped the organisation focus more on helping their customers. Kovacevich observed that each customer had different needs that they expected the organisation to meet. Employees knew what was expected of them: to help the customer succeed financially. The result has been increased trust from customers and thus more business for the company.
2. Nelson Books
Nelson Books is one of the trade book divisions of Thomas Nelson. When his boss suddenly resigned in July 2000 Michael Hyatt, who was then second in command, was handed the job. The division was the worst performing part of the company. Instead of focusing on a practical cost cutting strategy Michael took himself off to a private retreat and focused on creating a new corporate vision. The vision can be summarised by the following sentence, " Nelson Books is the world's largest, most respected provider of inspirational books." There was a lot more detail that accompanied this overarching statement. When he presented the new vision to his colleagues it had the desired effect.
Within eighteen months the company’s fortunes had turned around; during the next six years Nelson Books was consistently the fastest growing, most profitable division at Thomas Nelson. All of this happened because of a clear vision.
Consider your own corporate vision in the context of these two examples. Have you set your sights high enough? Does your corporate vision excite your colleagues and business partners? Are you aiming too low? We would be happy to help you re-define your vision.
Milestone Advisory supports the shareholders and boards of SME businesses across the UK, Europe and US to achieve long term growth and value. Are you planning for agency growth in the next 1-3 years? We would be happy to help you achieve your growth targets. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 7810 604 970 or send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to starting the conversation.