Developing a Company Vision
"The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on...." —Walter Lippmann, in a 1945 column on the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the New York Herald Tribune.
In his book, On Becoming a Leader (Pereus Publishing, 1994), author Warren Bennis notes that "The manager has his eye always on the bottom line; the leader has his eye on the horizon."
An effective company vision should:
- Be an aggregation and explanation of the company's key values, goals and aspirations
- Provide a direction and road map for what could and should be
- Unite and align the organization behind one common purpose
- Be a motivating mental image
- Be something that is achievable and viewed by others as achievable
- Be measurable and not written in general terms that cannot be quantified. A poor example would be: "We will be the No. 1 real estate firm in the land"
- Set standards of expecation and performance
- Define what the organization is supposed to do
- Describe in words a picture of a better future
- Be ambitious
- Inspire commitment and focus
Adapted from "Transformational Leadership In the New Age of Real Estate," Christopher Lee, 2012.
TIP: Keep your vision simple. A one-line statement that can be easily grasped is the most effective way to convey your ideas.
A company vision should reveal your business’s true function or purpose.
In real life: Your business’s purpose isn’t to sell homes, but, for example, “to build a prosperous business by helping our friends and neighbors find their best possible home.” Notice how the vision conveys underlying goals— identifying the business as part of the community with the words, “friends and neighbors” and emphasizing the service/support view of selling with the word “help” rather than “find” or “provide.”
A company vision sets growth boundaries and defines the area in which the company wants to compete.
In real life: In the example above, notice the words “prosperous business.” This company’s goal isn’t to become the market leader, but to enjoy success and provide a good living for its owner and sales associates.
Adapted from “Define your business,” George S. Day, Executive Excellence, February 2001.
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