A company’s performance is measured by a number of factors. Three key factors are revenue growth, profit growth and market share. In our experience companies that struggle in these areas do so because of two fundamental reasons.
First, they failed to create a shared Vision and enroll everyone in the fulfillment of that vision. One defining aspect of a team is a full commitment to a shared goal. Without this commitment to a shared future, you do not have a team.
Second, they failed to create the organizational alignment to win and retain the customers they need to grow. While marketing and sales alignment is a critical success factor, development and operational alignment are also necessary to bring the full force of the organization to bear on revenue and profit generation.
Let’s talk about the role vision plays in this conversation. To reach any destination, you need to know where you want to go, where you are now, and how you will get there. In strategic terms, where you want to go is your Vision. Where you are now is your Current Situation, which includes your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. How you will get there is your Strategy. Your strategy defines the means you will employ to differentiate yourself and create a sustainable competitive advantage.
While all three aspects are equally important, it is usually best to start with the future in mind. This way you will be pulled by your vision instead of being pushed by your pain.
The term vision is an over-arching concept containing a variety of other concepts. Vision consists of two major components – a Guiding Philosophy consisting of the Purpose and Core Values/Beliefs which leads to a two-step Tangible Image. The first step is to declare a compelling Mission – a three to five year goal that everyone can see as critical to the long-term success of the company. The second step is to create a Vivid Description of the future state of the Company when the goal is achieved over the next three to five years.
Creating a compelling vision is not easy. It takes a fully engaged leadership team, collaborating together, to “tease” out a vision that works for everyone. Some leadership teams prefer to do this as a facilitated process. Regardless of how this is accomplished, the effort is definitely worth it. In our experience, the leadership team is energized by the experience, and they are aligned and committed to bringing forth the vision as a team. In short, the experience creates a fully engaged executive team that will be able to take new, more powerful actions within a deep sense of relationship and trust.
This shared vision provides an overarching context for aligning the organization, especially marketing and sales. It will guide their actions and decisions and will provide a context of how to proceed in times of change. Without organizational alignment it will be difficult to achieve the mission within the desired timeframe, if at all.