2017 has brought a new vision for THINK’ID8. It’s fitting that the first post on the new site focuses on vision and how vision impacts work culture. Crafting a vision for your organization is hard work, and it should be. After all, vision is what defines your organization. Vision establishes a picture for your organization and like a good snapshot, needs a defined, in-focus subject that is attractive to many. Vision informs every activity, every system, every product, every customer interaction and every employee’s role and performance. Yes, vision is THAT important.
Walk into your morning coffee or bagel shop and start observing the environment, the team, the food, the other customers. Can you tell what their vision is? How does the staff respond to your arrival? Do they care that you made a choice to visit their shop? Do they share their enthusiasm for your patronage? Does the team understand their individual roles in meeting your needs? The reason you return to the shop frequently is related to their vision. An organization without vision will do little to attract customers, regardless of the type of organization. Staff will feel lost and not understand how to interact with each other or those they serve. And, the products and service will have limited appeal and quality.
Crafting a vision is just part of a vision-based work culture. An organization with a well crafted vision has little more than a statement to be framed or posted on a website. If you’re looking to build a vision-based work culture, start by considering the following five components.
- An easy to remember, shareable vision.
Too often, vision statements are LONG and cumbersome. Vision statements can’t be hard to envision. The simpler the better. Your team can’t remember a complex statement that isn’t easily thought about during the course of their day. Your vision should also be something easy to post in a variety of places. Use this rule. If you can’t put your vision onto your business card, it’s too long.
- Vision-based work cultures talk about their vision…A LOT!
Start meetings with a review of the topic and how it relates to your organizational vision. In organizational communications, include your vision and again, relate the message of the communication to your vision. Be sincere, and NEVER make light of your vision or assume everyone’s tired of hearing about it.
- Establish an understanding of anti-vision behavior and performance.
Knowing what DOESN’T match your vision is as important as knowing what does. As your team goes about their day, each person has a responsibility to watch and listen for anti-vision behavior from others. Each person should be empowered to react in an instructional way to help others. And, everyone must be open to receiving this instruction. The key is to not make this peer level support feel like criticism or compliance. Respect and empathy must be at the center of changing anti-vision behavior and aligning performance standards to your vision.
- Create a vision-based working environment.
Space, or better, use of space, is an important part of managing a vision-based work culture. Your team’s space must support the organizational vision. Also important is work time and place. With many organizations harnessing the power of the conceptual age we’re experiencing today, work is becoming less about time and more about results. As such, remote work, flexible office spaces, functional shared and open spaces are becoming more important and prevalent. Create recurring moments for your team to reflect on your work environment and build flexible, reactive systems should changes be identified. Set policies and permission-oriented procedures may be needed but not to a point where they create barriers.
- Align services, products and projects to the organizational vision.
Every effort of the organization needs to have a clear relationship to the vision of the organization. Before launching any project, spend time as a team outlining how the project will help the organization approach the vision. If the team struggles for more than a few minutes, that project may not be of value. If you start to notice none of your projects are related to your vision, then your team may be working form old habits, your vision may not be clear, or worse, your organization may have a vision that just isn’t valid.
A vision-based work culture is yours if you’re willing to invest the energy and persevere. If you’re the leader of your organization, you’ll be the main character in this effort. But, building vision-based work cultures is far from being a top-down effort. Vision-based organizations are highly communicative, focused on learning, flexible and quick to change as needs and opportunities arise. Practice the five components above to get started and let me know the results of your efforts.
Mark T. Burke
CEO, Founder of THINK’ID8