If you do not have a properly communicated clear vision, then what do you have? How do you lead others without a vision. A secret vision does not count. A vision that stays in the executive boardroom does not mean a thing.
A vision crafted for hanging on hallways and staircases does not count. Those are simply. decors. These are visions so generic they might as well be drafted by a grade school student. Wait, maybe a grade school student can articulate it better. A seventh-grade student must be able to comprehend your vision. If they cannot, then it’s just a show of your range of vocabulary. A true vision is clear, self-explanatory, easily understood, easily recalled, and compelling.
A true vision is never self-serving. A true vision is written for the greater good of society. The company merely works to help achieve that greater good. That’s their mission. Disney’s vision ‘To make people happy’ is meant for the greater good of people outside the company. It’s not to be the biggest, the brightest, the grandest. Such vision statements are self-serving. Such vision is driven by the pride of its leadership. There is humility in a true vision statement.
“To create a better every day life for the many people.” is Ikeas vision. They did not write to be the biggest furniture company in the world. It was bout about themselves. Other companies can participate in the vision “to create a better every day life for the many people.” Ikea sees itself as a company that has joined the movement.
“Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” is Microsoft’s vision. Similar to Ikea, the vision has is not about the company. It’s about helping others to achieve more. They are participants in a movement.
The list goes on. None of these visions is self-serving.
“Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Nike.
“To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” Tesla
“To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.” Sony
“To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” Facebook
“A just world without poverty.” Oxfam
A true vision drives employees to the greater good. A true vision helps employees understand why and how their work matters. They are able to connect their work to the greater good.
Going to work for companies like these give meaning to an employee’s life. They are proud to work for these companies. There is a sense of fulfillment, a sense of purpose. There is a sense of satisfaction.
I had the chance to work with many companies back in the Philippines. Many have visions that are mere words written on walls. There are companies that have no vision at all. Then, there are those whose vision is to be the biggest company in their industry. Such companies are driven purely by profits. They only care about their shareholders. These companies do not even invest in the development of their people. It was seen as an unnecessary cost.
You can tell if companies, like these, do not have a clear compelling vision. Ask their HR Manager about their attrition rates. They will have a higher than the normal number of people leaving the company than industry standards.
You cannot blame the employees for leaving. Who would want to work for a company whose sole focus is raising shareholder value? If you are not a shareholder then why should that matter to you? Leaders often forget that it’s great people that build great companies. However, great people are drawn by great vision. Teamwork is harnessed by a great vision. They are driven by a worthy purpose.
What is your vision? Is your vision written for the greater good? Is your vision easy to recall? Is your vision easy to understand? If your vision compelling?