It goes without saying that having a vision is a necessary quality of an effective leader or leadership team; followers can’t follow without a vision to follow!
But the best visions that work are the simple ones. They work because they demonstrate three things:
- Where we are going and why that is relevent to each individual.
- How exactly we will get there and that getting there is possible.
- What the vision means to each person and this is communicated well.
If a vision is too vague or complex people will not understand it nor buy into it. A good vision creates clarity and enables people at all levels to make better decisions; it provides a guiding light. In a world of increasing complexity and rapid changes, the need for simple direction becomes more and more important, simplication of work is the essence.
Some examples of simple, short vision statements that provide focus on what is important and what drives the company are:
Disney – To make people happy
Ikea – To create a better everyday life for many people
Oxfam – A just world without poverty
Short and sweet and very focused!
So what are the elements of an effective vision?
- It helps people focus on what they should not do.
- It is unique to the strengths and aspirations of the company.
- It provides focus on the ‘must-win’ battles for the future.
- It is easily applicable to all the stakeholders, from shareholders to the final customer.
- It is short, simple and easy for everyone to remember.
How does the vision of your company stand up to these criteria?