Working smarter

Business vision: don’t just dream the dream, live it

If staff have input into developing the business vision, this can be hugely beneficial by bringing optimism into the workplace and improving the dynamics and work ethic.

Strategies that get staff thinking about the future without constraints enable breakthrough opportunities to be identified, unifying and strengthening individuals and teams. These strategies enable staff to focus on big ideas, which can change the game plan for the better.

Why have a business vision statement?

Without an inspiring collective team vision, your business stands to lose greatly in a challenging and perpetually changing marketplace. There will be a lack of commitment amongst your employees for the business’ future and some individuals may prioritise their own agendas. The divergence of opinions can generate conflict and people may be unable to work together effectively. 

The speed of change in business can be dramatic and in the rush to get things done and react to challenges in the short term, many businesses find this type of collaborative process can fall by the wayside.

Your top-performing staff can be passionate about the future and processes need to be developed and aligned with this passion.

Every team and team member needs clear vision – they need to know what they’ll be part of building, and what the business will become.

While most businesses have an overarching business vision, many fail to provide a process that gives their teams the opportunity for input into developing the vision that will add significant value and take their work to the next level. 

The challenge for many businesses is to make time to develop this important process.

How to create a business mission and vision

How can you best approach this challenge?  

1. Create a safe environment: It’s essential the CEO involves direct reports from employees in the process of creating the vision, forming a secure atmosphere that enables each individual to share ideas openly.

2. Develop the collective dream: At this initial stage of the process it’s important not to pass judgment on the suggestions, but to let them come freely. A business vision board where you can jot down all the ideas is a simple way of bringing them all together. To enable this spontaneous flow of ideas people should try not to overthink, otherwise some of the most innovative ideas won’t be expressed.    

3. Undertake strategic analysis: The team should use relevant strategic analysis tools to assess and analyse the ideas that were expressed in developing the collective dream. The strategic tools can include: 

  • SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis

  • industry competitive forces (Porter’s Five Forces)

  • core competence agenda 

  • value chain analysis

  • specific surveys.

Additionally, some innovative ideas may be discussed with selected customers or clients where appropriate.

4. Create the business vision: The collective dream is then transformed, using strategic analysis, to become an inspiring and challenging, yet achievable, vision for the future of your company.

The next steps

Once you’ve finalised your vision you need to develop a strategy to make it a reality. There are two different approaches that can be applied to the vision – a learning strategy or strategic plan. The level of uncertainty associated with each component of the vision will determine which approach is appropriate.

Learning strategy

This approach is recommended for the opportunities revealed by the dream (an inspiring vision for the future direction of the company) in which the level of uncertainty is high. The learning strategy will involve:

  • identifying several possible pathways allowing for exploration or experimentation 

  • building a strong team to follow each pathway

  • analysing the findings after a predetermined time frame and determining the best way to achieve the expected results

  • incorporating the desired outcome into the strategic plan when the level of uncertainty becomes acceptable.

Strategic plan

This approach is recommended where the level of uncertainty is low or moderate. The strategic plan will involve:

  • developing an action plan collectively

  • allocating clear accountabilities, expected results and deadlines

  • ensuring organisational capabilities and resources are aligned with the plan

  • reviewing progress monthly using performance indicators created specifically for the plan.

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