Luke Smith says you can’t create a company vision without employee collaboration – here’s why
No matter your industry, product, or service, your company cannot thrive unless there is a clear vision driving the business strategy and uniting employees, stakeholders, and customers under a single banner. After all, a business is about far more than making money. A company is about fulfilling a purpose, bringing value to your target client and, in the process, bringing value to the world.
Nevertheless, a company’s vision doesn’t just emerge of its own accord. It is not simply a product or manifestation of the work you do. Rather, it is the end result of care, commitment, and deliberation, an effort to understand not simply the what and how of your organisation, but also the “why.”
Defining the “why” of your business, though, isn’t simply the responsibility of leadership or stakeholders. A strong company vision can, should, and, indeed, must be defined not only from the top-down but also from the bottom-up. A coherent and constructive vision for your organisation, in other words, can only be crafted through collaboration with your employees.
The importance of defining company vision in coordination with your entire staff and stakeholders is vital and here are some key strategies for bringing this unified vision into being.
What is a company vision?
Fundamentally, a company vision encapsulates the values, principles, commitments, and objectives that define all aspects of an organisation, from recruiting and management to marketing and operations.
The function of the company vision, which ideally should be codified in a clear, cohesive vision statement, is at once ideological and strategic. A vision statement, in essence, defines both the mission and the future orientation of an organisation.
This, in turn, enables staff, leadership, and stakeholders to articulate and quantify success. Thus, the company vision provides a plan for action that can be used to rally employees and stakeholders behind a new leader, support team building and efficacy by ensuring that all employees are pulling in the same direction, and enable decision-makers and investors to more effectively measure enterprise performance.
Your employees are the lifeblood of your organisation. They are the ones who transform ideas into realities
The role of collaboration
Given the profound importance of developing and adhering to a strong company vision, it’s perhaps not surprising that enlisting your employees in the process of developing and defining the company mission should be critical. After all, your employees are the lifeblood of your organisation. They are the ones who transform ideas into realities.
Because of the preeminent role your employees play in bringing the company vision to fruition, it’s imperative to ensure that the overarching organisational mission aligns with the values, principles, and goals of your staff. Employees are unlikely to be able to “live the brand”, for instance, if that brand contradicts their own most cherished beliefs.
This is not meant to suggest, of course, that you should expect complete unanimity and accord between all employees across the organisation. If you seek innovation and progress over compliance and groupthink, then diverse perspectives should be embraced and leveraged.
Nevertheless, while individual viewpoints may vary, a cohesive and highly functioning organisation is one in which staff and stakeholders agree on fundamental principles.
When your employees, partners, and stakeholders are unified in this overarching vision, you’re not only going to find that teams are more efficient and productive due to their cohesiveness, but also that they are more effective in disseminating a clear and consistent brand message to your target audience. In an increasingly crowded and competitive market, the ability to cultivate a coherent, recognisable brand may well mean the difference to your organisation’s long-term survival.
Collaboration across organisational types
Every business leader knows that companies are as varied as the people who comprise them. However, most enterprises can be classified into one of a handful of common organisational structures, including the hierarchical, the functional, the matrix, and the team-based structure.
The manner in which your employees collaborate with one another often very much depends on the type of organisational structure your company is based on. This is a critical point to remember when it comes to the process of enlisting employee input in the development of a company vision.
For instance, if your organisation is structured on a hierarchical model, then employees may feel reticent about sharing their ideas for the company mission because they are more accustomed to deferring to superiors in the enterprise hierarchy. In such a case, using anonymous surveys and questionnaires can be an ideal way to solicit employee feedback on the vision statement.
In a team-based structure, conversely, the collaborative process may be more personal and interactive. Because employees working in a team-based organisation are likely used to and most comfortable with a real-time give and take, your best option may be to hold team meetings to enable your staff to brainstorm ideas for the company vision together.
Developing a company vision is essential to helping your company not just survive but thrive in today’s challenging market. However, this organisational vision is not something to be imposed from the top-down. Rather, if you want to truly unify your employees under a clear, cohesive ideal, then you need to prioritise collaboration in the creation of your vision statement.
Luke Smith is a freelance writer