How many people in your organisation could tell you why you exist, what your vision is, and what values the business is run by?
I had a very interesting experience recently. I had the after lunch session. I was working with a business who had just been presented their vision in their morning strategy session and when I asked them what it was, they said, “We can't remember it because we've only just heard it.” My reply to them was simple - if you cannot remember it after only having heard it an hour ago then there is absolutely no way you will be remembering it and living by it in a week or a month’s time.
If after only an hour the vision could not be remembered it obviously was not exciting. They had not spent the lunch break inspired, discussing the mission and vision, and reveling in the privilege they had to work together, as a team, towards achieving this.
I asked them if it followed the age old formula of “We want to be the best in (fill in the blank) and lead the industry by (fill in the blank)”. They rather sheepishly said yes. No surprises it was not remembered. A vision is there to inspire and propel a team forward. It should fuel motivation and internal drive so people NEED to make it happen.
If you're creating a vision for the sake of doing it, because everybody else has done it and you keep getting told you should, you will actually do more damage than good, because people very soon realise that you were just talking a talk. Action speaks louder than words and your team will watch you to see if you really meant it when you shared your vision. They will especially watch when you have to make a tough decision - one that follows the vision for the sake of the long term ideal or whether you compromise for the short term rewards - a quick sale, a placating compromise. If you are not “walking the talk” you begin to create a culture where everybody knows that what is said is not really what is meant, and that is a very dangerous culture to have.
Your ‘purpose for being’ as a business should be clear and every team member should be able to articulate how their role feeds into that purpose. Every team member must be able to feel like the purpose and vision resonates with whom they are, what role they have and the job that they do so that they can see how what they do relates to the greater purpose. This is then supported by your value.
Your values should act is an absolute guideline. When team members know (and live) your values and understand your vision, it is not actually possible to make a major mistake in your organisation. This is because the vision is the guiding light, showing what we are aiming to achieve; and the values act like the banks of a river - guiding and steering all the thoughts and activities of individuals towards the end goal.
Passion comes from having a purpose. People need a purpose - they need to know that what they do matters and that it makes a positive difference. The more people can connect with this, the greater the levels of engagement, enjoyment, loyalty and productivity.
Check in with your team and see if you need to be clearer on what difference it makes having them on your team!
Here’s to your success!