The Power of Personal Vision to Drive Organizational Change
Well-known author and political activist, Helen Keller, once noted that “the most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.” Stricken by serious illness at age 2 that left her both deaf and blind, Keller’s dogged perseverance over seemingly insurmountable odds is a testament to her personal vision.
Keller’s quote leads me to consider contemporary visionaries like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk who have radically transformed our realities regarding what is possible. But for every Steve Jobs and Elon Musk there are countless other brilliant individuals whose visions will never be realized simply because they cannot effectively communicate the organizational vision in their heads to the hearts and minds of their teams.
How Can You Craft an Organizational Vision Statement?
A well-written vision statement is an essential tool for any organization committed to pursuing excellence. Keep your vision statement concise so it can be easily remembered and repeated. It should be aspirational in nature, clearly define your collective direction and highlight what you want your organization to achieve over time.
Most importantly, make sure the vision inspires your team to pursue excellence and provides a strategic roadmap for short and long-term decision making at all levels of the business.
For inspiration, here are some examples of simple yet aspirational vision statements from some successful organizations:
- Microsoft: Empower people through great software anytime, anyplace and on any device
- Disney: To make people happy
- Amazon: To be the earth’s most customer-centric company
- Ritz-Carlton: To inspire life’s most meaningful journeys
Today, you’ll find cleverly crafted vision statements everywhere you look – artfully framed facsimiles hang in boardrooms and hallways across the corporate landscape. However, research conducted by Achievers, an industry-leading provider of employee recognition and engagement solutions, revealed only 3 in 5 employees can articulate the vision endorsed by their company.
This means a large chunk of your organization will not embrace the vision nor modify their behaviors to align with it. Exemplary organizations focus on proactively cascading the vision throughout the enterprise, never assuming the masses will somehow ‘’get it” along the way.
Consider these strategies to motivate your employees to engage around your vision
Communicate Your Vision and Core Values Every Day
I love Zig Ziglar’s quote about the importance of repeating what’s important: “Repetition is the mother of learning and the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”
If you want your people to embrace your personal vision and core values, find ways to reinforce them… day after day.
Culture-based organizations like Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Zappos conduct daily 10-15 minute huddle meetings that include a focused segment around enlivening their core principles. Other companies reinforce key strategic messages through their company intranet or video conferencing technologies.
Increase Awareness of Your Company Vision
Get your marketing department involved in creating a visually appealing design/background for your vision statement. A local printer can produce poster-sized images at minimal cost that can be easily posted in all employee common areas.
At Ritz-Carlton, employees are required to have a “Credo Card” on their person at all times. Consider developing and distributing laminated, wallet-sized fold-out cards with your company vision, mission and service values highlighted on individual panels.
Get Your Leadership Involved!
Enlist your leadership team to conduct surprise audits where employees are randomly asked to recite the vision statement as well as articulate what the vision means to them on a personal level. Be sure to incorporate some sort of meaningful acknowledgement for individuals that successfully “pass the test.”
Hand-written notes from an executive team member, as well as gift cards for coffee or bagels, are simple yet inexpensive rewards.
Leverage the Influence of Storytelling
One of the strongest approaches to ensure your personal vision is continuously cascaded across all levels is to build a virtual repository of stories and best practices that exemplify your vision in action.
Atlanta-based Chick-Fil-A recently introduced The Chicken Wire, a new content section on its website that includes feature stories highlighting employee contributions to the company vision and core values.
Other companies have instituted inspiring peer recognition programs where employees are encouraged to share stories of fellow co-workers who championed the organizational vision in some meaningful way.
The more your team observes desired behaviors being regularly reinforced, the higher the probability they will readily align themselves with your long-term strategy.
Does your personal vision statement inspire others to greatness? Is it hardwired into the DNA of your people? If not, take time today to further refine your vision, and collaborate with your team on an action plan to bring your company’s vision to life.
“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” – Steve Jobs