Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Hello beautiful Humans!
What does it mean to Share Your Vision? How can you share it and what benefits does it offer? I've wanted to write about this topic for some time. It's popped up in a couple of conversations this week, so now is the time to share.
Microsoft Vision Statement: Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
Sharing your vision seems to be a subject that leaders, management teams and business owners have a difficult time wrapping their heads around and yet the concept of it is so very simple and, I believe, can be summed up in how you answer this one question. How can you expect to keep your employees engaged and motivated for the success of your company if you are not willing to share with them what your vision of the company is?
USPS Vision Statement: To meet the postal needs of today, without compromising the future.
Why Share the Vision?
Your vision for your organization is, or at least should be, more than just advancement in your company. It should be the advancement of your company and as much as we would like to think we can, it just can't be done without the rest of your employees. Employees, whether you have 1 or 1000 or more, are the foundation of a company and to have a strong foundation, they need to know who and what they are supporting.
Nike Vision Statement: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)
You want your company to succeed, to do well, to out perform competition, to have a good reputation, and so on. In your own mind, you know what that future looks like, at least to some degree. Do you envision shelves full of quality products? A storefront in every town? An extensive network of collaborators? A steady stream of investors and/or customers? If you are keeping that vision to yourself you are doing your future vision, your company, your employees and yourself a great disservice.
Sony Vision Statement: To be the most comprehensive entertainment company in the world.
When you are sharing your vision, you are engaging employees and inviting them to be a part of the future with you instead of for you. Why should employees help you to achieve your dreams if they don't share those dreams with you. Keeping them in the dark and not being transparent about what you see for the future of the company ensures that they will show up for a paycheck and do only what they have to do to earn it. If they can't see themselves as part of the future success with the company, then don't be surprised when they put forth little to no effort to support it. Don't believe me? Ask them! That's what James Kouzes and Barry Posner did. You can find the results of their studies in their book The Leadership Challenge (an awesome book, btw).
Ford Vision Statement: People working together as a lean, global enterprise to make people's lives better through automotive and mobility leadership.
How do you inspire others to share your visions of the future?
I know what you're thinking, inviting someone into your vision doesn't mean they'll share it, right? We have to find a way to compel them to be inspired by it and participate in it as well. Fair enough! Sharing the vision is really only the first step.
If you want to inspire others with your vision then give them the whole story. Show them what the future will be (drop the ifs, coulds and woulds) when your vision comes to fruition. Give them everything. Where you are now, where you will be and what you're facing in between.
Be positive and prepared to combat negativity with facts and more positivity. There are almost always those who disagree and play the devil's advocate. Don't let them discourage you. Don't hold back on the facts. Show them you know what can happen when you all work together towards the common goal.
Show them how they fit into the grand scheme of things. Show them that their collaboration, experience, talents and participation are not only wanted and valued, but they are needed to make the vision a success.
Be honest and genuine and ask for feedback. If you aren't listening to your team then you have to listen. Not only can it spur ideas, but they may see something that you don't. Aside from that, it demonstrates integrity and tells your employees that you truly believe in what you say and you truly care about what they have to say as well.
Get excited! This is the future of your business we're talking about here. Have you ever been.... Let me re-phrase that... We have all been to workshops, meetings, classes, conferences, etc. where that one person gets up and starts talking in that monotone voice that nearly puts you to sleep. Don't be that guy! People want to be on a team that wins and if the leader of that team doesn't believe they will win, doesn't show they can win, isn't excited about winning, then they won't want to play.
Make it BIG! Make it challenging! Don't set your business up for failure with outrageous and unattainable goals, but do set the standards high. Edmond Hillary and Tensing Norgay did not reach the summit of Mt Everest by climbing 20,000 feet and saying that's good enough. Make your goals high, but reachable.
Wikipedia Vision Statement: A world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge
A Vision Statement
I'm sure you've read the Vision Statement examples included in this article (most of which were gleaned from an article on Cascade by Tom Wright - cited below). It is the future vision of your business. It cements your goal to hold you, your staff and the company as a whole accountable. It is the strategy behind your future success. It reminds you (and your employees) of what that strategy is, what the future goal of the company is and sometimes how you plan to achieve it.
Trip Advisor Vision Statement: Help people to have the best possible trip.
Let me say that if you really want to have a shared vision with your staff and employees, then include them in the process of creating your Vision Statement.
There are a ton of "how to" articles about creating your Vision Statement, so I'm not going to go into that here. The main thing is that you collaborate on what best describes who/what your company is, what the main goal for the company is and how you are going to get there.
Harvard University Vision Statement: To develop leaders who will one day make a global difference
Once you've achieved the goal in your Vision Statement, or if your company's vision starts to veer into a new direction, you will want to create a new Vision Statement. For instance, Google's Vision statement (according to honkamp.com cited below) in 2018 was "To provide the world's information in one click." In 2020, their Vision statement was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Keep it up to date and relevant.
Smithsonian Vision Statement: Shape the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world.
There is a quote by Simon Sinek which hangs in my office. It is, "Our vision is only actionable if we share it. Without sharing, it's just a figment of our imagination." I don't believe that there is a better explanation for why we should share our Vision with others.
Have each department in your company/organization create or update their Vision Statement. Use these Vision Statements to create or update the Vision Statement for your company/organization.
Morals of the Story:
We cannot expect others to put forth an effort towards the future success of our businesses if they don't know what that future success looks like.
Yet another way to engage and include employees in the growth of the company and/or organization.
Inspire others by painting the big picture, being excited, having the facts and setting high standards with a challenging but achievable goal.
Create a Vision Statement with the contribution of staff and employees and keep it current and visible.
James M Kouzes & Barry Posner
To Lead, Create a Shared Vision
Harvard Business Review
Google's 2018 Vision Statement
The 101 Most Inspriging Vision Statement Examples for 2022