The winds have whipped the waves into a frenzy. It is as dark as sin. The ship is tossed violently from port to starboard and the seamen are lurching about. You shout your orders. The first mate relays the message with frantic pitch in his voice. The wind seems to be picking up and the last remnant of the moon disappears behind the dark clouds. Someone yells that the boat seems to be taking on water.
You look up, glance at the lighthouse. It seems about right. You know that if you can keep it in sight, you will enter the quiet of the bay in a few minutes. Your troops follow your gaze and it seems to reassure them; they still rush, but somehow it seems more controlled.
That is our economy, your business and your staff.
And the lighthouse is your ‘vision’.
- How are you doing with that ‘vision’ thing?
- Do you use it to steer your business through stormy waters?
Most businesses don’t use their vision in a practical way – it simply adorns their annual reports and page 1 of the strategic plan – because more often than not it is utter gobbledegook.
You can skip that and take the dennisprice test for a good vision statement:
If your PA (or any of the most junior staff members) can use it to make practical decisions in their job, then it is useful.
Let’s compare two famous organisations:
“The Global Beauty Leader We will build a unique portfolio of Beauty and related brands, striving to surpass our competitors in quality, innovation and value, and elevating our image to become the Beauty company most women turn to worldwide. The Women's Choice for Buying We will become the destination store for women, offering the convenience of multiple brands and channels, and providing a personal high touch shopping experience that helps create lifelong customer relationships. The Premier Direct Seller We will expand our presence in direct selling and lead the reinvention of the channel, offering an entrepreneurial opportunity that delivers superior earnings, recognition, service and support, making it easy and rewarding to be affiliated with Avon and elevating the image of our industry. The Best Place to Work We will be known for our leadership edge, through our passion for high standards, our respect for diversity and our commitment to create exceptional opportunities for professional growth so that associates can fulfill their highest potential. The Largest Women's Foundation We will be a committed global champion for the health and well-being of women through philanthropic efforts that eliminate breast cancer from the face of the earth, and that empower women to achieve economic independence. The Most Admired Company We will deliver superior returns to our shareholders by tirelessly pursuing new growth opportunities while continually improving our profitability, a socially responsible, ethical company that is watched and emulated as a model of success.”
“Share great coffee with our friends and help make the world a little better.”
- Does it dictate what they sell?
- Does it dictate how they sell coffee?
- Does it dictate how they treat a customer?
- Does it dictate how they treat a supplier?
Does it help people do their jobs?
Based on your reading of the mission statements above; which company would you rather work for?
I will leave it for you to decide.
But I will ask again:
How are you doing with that ‘vision’ thing?
PS: The day after I wrote this, Smart Company published their 6 lessons from the Hot 30 entrepreneurs under 30. Guess what is at the top of the list?
PPS: Our next issue of the Winners’ Circle will be out later this week:
Dr Dennis Price helps retailers and their retail supply create high- performance businesses through innovative learning & development technology and programs.