Do your employees know where your business is headed?
The second of Steven Covey’s habits (in his methodology “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”) is to “begin with the end in mind”. The thought process behind this is that your first steps should be in the direction of your desired destination. If the destination is unclear, or ill-defined, the first steps could be leading in the wrong direction and therefore represent a waste of time and effort. It is vital to visualise your desired destination and to communicate this to your employees in order to enthuse them and align their efforts to successfully move your business in the direction of your desired destination.
A vision statement will help align your team with business goals
A vision statement will provide just such a picture of your “end in mind” for your business.
Your business’ vision statement will be phrased in the future tense, and paint a picture of where you want the business to be within a defined period of time, usually between 5 and 10 years. The vision statement would also indicate who and where the beneficiaries of the future business will be. Therefore, your business’ vision statement will indicate the direction in which you want your business to move. It will outline the future activities and capabilities that will need to be developed (more on this topic in a later post). It would provide a single focal point for all employees in the business to be aiming at, a stretch target.
Examples of good vision statements include:
IKEA – “At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people.”
Amazon – “Our vision is to be earth's most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Do your employees know the purpose(s) of your business?
The reason for your business being in existence will provide the context for this journey toward your “end in mind”. This reason or purpose is captured in a mission statement for your business. The mission statement explores the core purpose(s) for your business, why it exists, who it serves, what it is and what it does. The mission statement will therefore provide a framework for your employees to not only make operational decisions on a day-to-day basis, but also lay a foundation for making decisions about the future.
The benefits of your mission statement are that it will motivate and equip your employees to drive your business to your desired destination. Your mission statement should focus on your business’ competitive advantages, or its unique selling points (more on this topic in a later post). Further, it should focus on how it delivers your customer value proposition. It should also be succinct, but broad enough to properly explain your business’ purpose(s) and provide a context for your employees’ decision-making.
Examples of good mission statements include:
IKEA – “Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
American Express – “At American Express®, we have a mission to be the world’s most respected service brand. To do this, we have established a culture that supports our team members, so they can provide exceptional service to our customers.”