By Kim Bustamante
When it comes to the corporate environment, leadership vision should be far-sighted. It requires the ability to see beyond the day-to-day realities of business to determine where the company is intent on going, then finding an effective way to share that image with your team.
Beyond the day-to-day
All businesses can get caught up in daily operations. There are client needs to be met, supplies to be ordered, bills to pay and new relationships to build and defend. It can be a chaotic environment, even on good days, and against that backdrop, long-term vision can take a backseat.
Nevertheless, making time to relay your vision for the future can instill in your employees a sense of community and of working toward a common goal. Studies have shown that millennial workers are especially motivated by this sense of esprit de corps. If your vision statements and actions describe a tomorrow they wish to be a part of, they’ll help get you there.
Here’s how to impart your corporate vision.
Paint an appealing picture
Read as many corporate vision statements as you can find — and then avoid using almost all of that language. Chances are it is stiff, boring and too abstract. Instead, captivate and enlist your team by telling stories about the future as you envision it. Make it compelling, exciting and engaging. Your vision should not focus solely on where you are going but on why you are on the journey.
Explain how the company’s success impacts your people and clients
Even after you’ve explained your vision in appealing ways, it can all look pretty esoteric from the plant floor or the office cubicle farm. What does hard work get your team members besides the satisfaction of knowing the company will be recognized as a leader in its industry? How will living not just the “what” of what you do but the “how” of how you do it (i.e., living behaviors behind the values and purpose) elevate the lives of your people and clients and unleash their personal and professional potential?
Show employees the impact that the company’s success will have on their personal lives. Will it create greater stability? Provide more income potential? Offer opportunities for career enhancement? Create a more inviting workplace? Help them build new skills they can take outside the workplace? People want to know what’s in it for them and how they can have impact on the firm and the community around them, and it’s your job to show them.
Reinforce the vision
Unless people can personally relate to your vision statement, posting it on the website or in the employee break room will just be insignificant words on a wall. People need to be able to connect with where the firm is going. Explain how every company initiative or change of policy or procedure ties in to attaining the vision. Connect the dots at annual meetings, company picnics and other times to address the big picture. Build behaviors based on your values and vision -- in how you hire and onboard, how you bring in new clients, how you give feedback and review, how you mentor and manage, in the procedures and processes that are lived on a daily basis -- and weave them throughout the organization.
Demonstrate how everyone contributes
Not all employees will buy in to a shared vision, no matter how compelling it is. Some employees are simply focused on task performance and see employment as a route to income and very little else. This is not necessarily a bad thing if they are doing their jobs well. But these people should not be in key influencing or leadership positions and should not be actively undermining the vision, culture and behaviors of the firm.
There are others who are eager to get in the trenches, to become part of a community working together for a greater good. These are the people who will be most motivated by the vision you share and your plans for getting there. Just make sure they understand how their achievements work in to that shared success.
In short, formulate a vision for your company’s destination — and share it. Then continually reinforce engagement by showing team members how they are an integral part of the vision.
As Director of Operations for Wiss & Company LLP, Kim Bustamante is responsible for resource management, technology and culture keeping at the firm. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973.994.9400.