[IMGCAP(1)]Every organization should have a vision statement, as well as knowing its mission statement and core values, and it should represent your descriptive future and should be specific to a certain measurement of time.

In this article we will look at three key steps you need to achieve a vision that is working for your organization to attain results.

First and foremost, you need to establish a time period for your vision statement, which can be in increments of whatever you desire, but most companies select at minimum five years and at maximum no longer than fifteen years. The longer the course you set for your vision statement the more difficult it is to have incremental wins and feel the momentum of achieving the goal.

Obviously, the shorter the time period the more pressure there is on the organization to perform to accomplish results.  But selecting and agreeing to the appropriate timeframe that works for the growth and pace of your team should be your first major step.

I have seen a few routes to get to a vision and have laid them out for you below so you can select which method will work best for you and your teams.

One view is that the vision should be set by the owner, CEO, or president of the organization and it is their role to articulate that vision to the rest of the organization in a trickle down fashion. When visioning is handled this way it is seen as a single leader guiding the organization toward the purpose and direction that they see. If you have a charismatic leader this can work well, however, if you have a leader that has difficulty in bringing people along with purpose, you will find this to be more challenging for people to get behind.

Another approach is for the executive team or firm partners to come up with their vision for the future of the organization and, like the above approach, reinforce that vision throughout the organization. This gives you several people in agreement communicating the direction of the organization. If you have different ways to convey this message and it is emphasized in multiple delivery methods it can work well. If not every member of the team is on board, this can create a challenge in follow-ship.

The third option is to involve everyone in the process by soliciting feedback at each layer in the business and get ideas on where your people believe you are going. When you do this, it makes every level of the organization a part of the process.

At first, trying to involve everyone can seem like an overwhelming way to achieve results and can feel a little like herding cats. You may want to call upon an outside facilitator to run this process for your firm.  The results of this progression are that you achieve a vision agreement early and move towards achieving goals more rapidly.  Ultimately, the next step in the process of setting your vision statement is to determine who should be involved and who will be facilitating that dialogue.

The third step in the vision process is to determine how you are going to keep it alive in the organization in everyday practice. Setting up your vision can be handled many ways, but most important is how the message is reinforced and kept alive on a daily basis.

Like core values and mission that I have spoken about in previous articles, vision needs to be spoken about on a regular basis.  Questions like, “Does this help us achieve our vision?” should be asked regularly as you are embarking on new plans and strategies.

Everything you do should be put through the framework of vision, mission and core values. Your goals of the organization should be tied to how they help you with your vision.

These are the three steps needed to make sure you not only have set a vision for your organization, but to get that vision to have a ‘stickiness’ factor.

If you still have questions about core values, mission and vision, please send them to @aprylhanson on Twitter.

Apryl Hanson is a director of customer and partner strategy at Sage + NetSuite partner Blytheco LLC. She is a leadership executive focused on delivering customer and partner strategic initiatives to improve profitability and has responsibly over the customer facing sales teams as well as the firm’s marketing initiatives and plans. Apryl is also a customer loyalty enthusiast and is currently working on a book with colleague Alicia Anderson on women’s strengths in the work place.

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