In my last article, I talked about the value transparency has for the business. This article will deal with the idea behind the company – its vision. Buckle up!
The company vision moves the company forward. Without vision, it’s just a revenue-generating machine. The company vision must be understandable, but it also must be transparent. A transparent company vision is visible to everyone. People are reminded of it all the time. When a company vision is understood, it’s easy the explain the purpose of business objectives or put a new initiative in a broader context. The company mission reflects and complements the vision, so it has to be transparent as well.
In People Management
While this matters the most for large organizations, it’s important for the smaller companies too. It’s much easier to onboard recruits when you expose them to the company vision since day one. And the managers have an additional tool that helps them to measure the individual’s performance. These two things alone can significantly boost productivity and reduce waste.
For someone unrelated, the vision is often too vague and over-optimistic. For people within the company, it should be different. The company’s core values derive from its vision and mission. It’s much harder to explain to your employees why the company focuses on specific core values if they do not understand or often know what the company vision is.
Finally, you can’t have a proper succession without a clear vision that guides everyone during the transition. Acquisitions are also much harder, as you suddenly have to bring in large groups of people with their own beliefs and aspirations.
In Business Context
For the business, the vision has the most value when coupled with a set of business objectives. Having a consistent and visible company vision will simplify the objective creation process. While senior leaders must have the authority over their domain, the company vision should guide them towards the common goal. And if you’re trying to pass a startup phase, you need to watch out for the shiny object syndrome. Transparent vision helps with that. It gives focus to everyone while still giving them enough room to innovate.
The companies work together all the time. Often, you pick your partners based on the values you believe. Things like carbon neutrality or child labor. How to know if someone is a good fit if they aren’t clear about it? In the b2b world, you often hear about “clients from hell.” Usually, they were a bad fit from the start. Just it wasn’t obvious. If both are clear about what they believe in (and don’t lie), it’s much harder to make a bad pick.
How to improve transparency
It’s not hard to improve the transparency of your company vision. The key is to be consistent. You need a vision and mission statement, visible both internally and externally. Be proud of the company values. Don’t be afraid to be open about them.
Promote behavior that is in sync with the company vision and sanction one that is against it. When picking a business partner, look for their values. If you value the environment, doing business with an oil company is a bad idea. It’s also a bad idea to develop a product that goes against your values, no matter how profitable.
When your company is in a growth mode, the risk for the company culture is high. The older employees will be affected the most. Some might even leave. At that moment, you should embrace the company vision and assimilate the newcomers. The companies often break because of this, so don’t hide behind day-to-day operations.
To summarize, I have covered probably the most abstract aspect of the business and explained why you have to be clear and transparent about it. A company must have a clear vision, regardless of size. But if it’s not visible and understandable, it’s like you don’t have it at all. Do your employees believe in the same things as you?