How much time do you think it would take you to complete a complex jigsaw puzzle if you had no idea what the puzzle was supposed to look like when it was completed?
What if I stood over you the whole time you were working on it with everything from gentle suggestions to outright demands on how you accomplish the task – all while expressing my frustration that the puzzle had not been completed?
Sounds like a great time, right?
Strangely, that scenario isn’t anywhere near as farfetched as one would expect it to be. Business owners all over the world assign this same frustrating task to their stakeholders every day – expecting them to put all the pieces of the puzzle together the right way without giving them any idea of what they are working toward. While some business owners and leaders have never taken the time to create the vision for their business, many business owners have written a vision and then hung it on the wall, posted it on the website, put it on some promotional literature and moved on without telling the stakeholders what the puzzle they are working on is meant to look like.
How do you fix that? By communicating the vision with all the stakeholders.
A vision for your business is not something personal that must be kept hidden from view of all others, nor is it simply a marketing tool to stamp onto your promotional literature. A vision gets people excited and motivated about where you are going and what you will achieve. Sharing it with stakeholders allows everyone involved to contribute to and work toward the larger goals the vision defines. The vision serves as the glue in your business connecting people to one another and bringing the whole team into alignment.
The first step in effectively communicating the vision of the business to others may be having an all company meeting to introduce it as a core feature of your business. After that, you have to keep the vision fresh in everyone’s mind by bringing it up again and again.
Take the time to establish a Vision Communication Schedule. Have a communication item every month that discusses the vision – this could be in a monthly meeting, on an all-company call, or in the company newsletter. You will want to communicate the vision far more often than once per month. Find ways of working the vision into all the processes of your business. Give your weekly sales report a new name that relates to the vision of your business. Establish a report that shows each department’s contribution to the business. Send out a weekly email updating everyone on the work they have been doing and how it fits into the larger puzzle. For the most important and effective way of communicating the vision you must become an ambassador of your vision. Share your passion and live the vision each and every day through your behaviors and actions. These nonverbal forms of communication set the example for your team and demonstrate your commitment to the vision.