Having a vision of what you want to achieve, and where you want to get to, is infectiously compelling – to your consumers, to your team, to any potential investors.
As a company founder, CEO or MD your greatest challenge is not just defining your vision in a way that reflects your brand (something which we’ll talk about next month), but in ensuring that every individual with responsibilities for delivering it understands and buys into it. Your team, be it managers, contractors or even the student who works part-time in-store, needs to have a passionate appreciation of what you are trying to achieve and how you are trying to achieve it.
To do this, here are 4 ideas to help you define your vision and motivate your team to engage with it:
1. Keep it simple and make it powerful
Making a vision easily understood is one thing but making it resonate with your audience is more complicated. The key is to avoid use of jargon and instead use words and phrases that anyone in your business can associate with. Perhaps the most famous example of this was back in the 1960’s when Nike’s vision simply said ‘Crush Adidas’.
The tone of that statement draws on the competitive nature of sport and the target audience. Its clarity of purpose couldn’t be mistaken by anyone. Nike’s vision was simple, do anything it takes to be bigger and better than its main rival.
2. Be ambitious, paint the future
The most customer-centric businesses will share their vision from the perspective of their customer, and there is no more compelling a away to do this than painting a picture of an ambitious future you want to create for your customers.
Henry Ford utilised this method – creating a vision which would have been impossible for any person to misinterpret – “I will build a motor car for the great multitude… When I’m through, everybody will be able to afford one, and everyone will have one. The horse will have disappeared from our highways, the automobile will be taken for granted.”
3. Convey the passion
The way those at the top convey the business vision can have a meaningful impact on how customers and your team respond to it. There is no surprise then that many of the world’s most successful companies have been led by founder CEOs who live and breathe the success of their business as a figurehead.
Steve Jobs believed in the power of instilling the big picture as part of the culture and fabric of a brand, once famously asking the Chairman of Pepsi “do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?”. Apple’s own vision was no less ambitious, “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advances humankind.”
4. Make it relevant
Bold and ambitious visions inspire teams to rise to great challenges but only when they understand the relevance to them. By ensuring that your vision is inclusive and relevant to their day-to-day jobs you are more likely to empower positive change.
The ideal way to encourage engagement with the business vision is to involve the team. If your team is still small enough to allow it – co-creation is one of the most powerful ways to do this. If not, encourage contribution and discussion around how the vision cascades down to their individual role and responsibilities, with clear personal objectives that can be measured against the vision.
A compelling brand vision, that is understood and believed by your team, is a competitive advantage. It becomes a growth driver for a business, with a momentum, making the vision almost self fulfilling.
[box]Christina Richardson is a business marketing specialist and Founder of The Nurture Network, the on-demand marketing department for ambitious SMEs. With a proven track record in leading high profile marketing campaigns for entrepreneurial brands, The Nurture Network are a partner of GrowthAccelerator, working with business leaders who are passionate about growing their business.[/box]