If you work for or lead a company or organisation, you’ve probably seen or created the “vision statement.” But is this bit of wording really that important?
As a business leader or business owner, you are likely driven by a passion and a vision for your products and services. This drives you to innovate your operations and lead your people with purpose. However, vision left on its own in the mind of a leader means nothing for the rest of the team. What you need is to turn that internal passion and aspiration into an inspiring call to action.
In other words, you need a vision statement.
If your employees hasn’t caught the vision of the company they work for, they will likely feel unmotivated and purposeless. Even your most hardworking employees may be left uncertain of why they show up (physically or remotely) – other than to make a pay check.
Without a powerful and engaging vision statement, you will never see your employees rise to their full potential and truly innovate. On the other hand, when an entire company captures the vision of the organisation, incredible things can follow.
Do Employees Really Care About A Vision Statement?
But do employees really care about vision statements? Isn’t that a “PR” thing?
Absolutely! While it may seem that a vision statement should only concern top leaders of an organisation or the public, a clear and compelling vision will inspire employees – they know why they are doing what they are doing.
Consider the following companies and their vision statements:
Ikea – To create a better everyday life for the many people.
During this pandemic, to continue to serve their customers safely, they have improved their online offer and adapted some stores into fulfilment centres. They’ve also created new services, like drive-through click-and-collect and contactless deliveries, and have sped up bringing their IKEA app to additional countries.
LinkedIn – Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
With this vision, LinkedIn has created a comprehensive COVID-19 resource to help professionals navigate during this time of uncertainty. You can check it out here.
Disney – To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.
Disney has been a role model in the business world, using its vision to empower employees to deliver exceptional customer service.
Disney conducts highly intentional training for their employees (called Cast Members). The initial class, taken on the first day of training by each new Cast Member regardless of their role or level in the organisation, is called Traditions. Instead of first providing technical skills to complete the tasks of their new roles, they share the big picture – the vision.
Other vision statements to inspire you:
- Lo & Behold group – To create experiential destinations and craft awesome experiences for our employees, partners and customers, creating memories that exist beyond our spaces.
- Muji – A simple, pleasant life.
- Alibaba Group – We do not pursue size or power; we aspire to be a good company that will last for 102 years. We aim to build the future infrastructure of commerce. We envision that our customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba.
Employees will work for a pay check anywhere. But if a company has a true passion and vision that employees can feel a part of, stand back and watch your employees flourish in their roles!
Fighting Back Against Vision Drift
Hey, my organisation has a vision statement, why don’t I see these benefits?
Unfortunately, even the best visions statements can be left behind by an organisation that doesn’t seem to buy into it. Walk into the average office building and ask any regular employee to tell you their Company’s vision statement. They will likely google their website to show you or mutter a variation of it.
But if you ask them what that statement means, they will likely give you a blank stare. Welcome to the killer of company vision and direction: vision drift.
Why does vision drift in a company? Employees forget the company vision statement and lose their passion for two main reasons:
1. The company isn’t using the vision statement
If you have a vision statement, own it! Make sure you use your vision statement proudly in company marketing, office design, digital materials, and in your day-to-day conversations in the office. The more you use your vision statement, the more likely it will become part of your DNA.
2. The vision statement was created without input from the team
Another reason that many employees quickly forget a vision statement is due to their not being involved in the vision-crafting process. While many employees will come into the business after the vision statement has been established, you should constantly be revisiting your vision, bringing in new team members to discuss it from time to time. When employees internalise it, they will take new ownership in the organisation!
Designing An Inspirational Vision Statement That Connects The Minds and Hearts
Once you know why you should have a vision statement, you must develop one. While every company’s vision statement will be unique, there are a few elements that you should remember to create one that works:
- Keep It Short & Sweet – Make sure your vision statement is short enough that it can be easily remembered and used in branding.
- Make It Inspiring & Informative – A great vision statement will move employees to action and give a crystal clear picture of who the company is and where it is going.
- Build It Solid & Flexible – The vision statement should be solid enough to last through company changes – location, business expansion and leadership – but be flexible enough for all of you to revisit it and update it over time.
With a powerful vision statement used across your company, you will find that your team members and team leads are inspired, motivated, and driven to be their best. Beyond the company, your customers and clients will also increase their loyalty to your brand to discover the passion that guides your business.