As an entrepreneur or executive, you no doubt have a particular vision for your organization. Perhaps you’ve even taken the steps to put this vision into writing and shared it with your staff or asked them to weigh in on it as you were developing it. But have they really bought into it, or is it just a statement on paper? Examples of companies with great vision, which their employees know by heart and exude with confidence include Starbucks, Apple, Harley-Davidson, REI (outdoor retailer), and countless others. Their employees work to display and build on the corporate vision each day because they truly believe in it and they know that they play a role within it. Here are a few ways to take your organization’s vision from a statement on paper to something that lives and breathes, that employees are proud of and want to add to each day:
Believe: Authentically believe in the vision. It must come from your core that not only is their belief in the vision, but that you know this is the right team to get there. If these are just words or if you as the leader are not passionate about where the organization is going, then why are you there? Even if you are an amazing actor, your people can tell if this doesn’t mean much to you or if you don’t believe they can make it happen. If you don’t believe, how can they? Do what you need to do every day to stay inspired and spread that to your people. It will come through to the team in your words, your non-verbal communication but most importantly in your energy – they will read it intuitively and be inspired to make it happen.
Bring Them Into the Process: Include them in developing the vision or at least in how they are going to get there.
Help them pull out where the company is going and feel the energy around getting there. We are all more likely to buy-in when we are the ones that had input into the direction and the map to achieving our goal. Allow voices to be heard and use their words so it has more juice and meaning.
Tell the Tale: Verbal information helps people to see the impact in action. It builds in the minds of each employee the meaning behind the vision you are trying to achieve and formulates mental connections as to how they could get there. These stories become a part of your company culture and they carry on the heart and meaning behind the work. Tales also help build the reminders around what is most important. It is too easy to get dragged down into the negative which stops production and encourages silos. Telling the story helps people look from above and shifts the mindset from “we can’t” or “it’s their job” to “Oh yes we can- how can we not?” and “Let’s do this together!”
Company Culture Representations: Infuse the company’s vision in the culture through visual reminders. Not just the words on the wall but images. Images that constantly remind people of the vision and how exciting it is to be included in it. Whether the inspiration comes from the product and its impact, the people within your organization or what you do for the community with the profit you make. Show in pictures, sculptures, logos, mottos – on the walls, office space, computers, phone covers, clothes and digitally too. Get creative about it – use external resources to design them if you don’t have quality design internally. They must be professional, customized, meaningful and everywhere!
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