When Vision Is Not Enough To Save A Company

In Leadership

As business owners, our common pursuit is achieving our goals, whatever they may be. We all have an idea (hopefully) of where we’d like to be in 1, 2 or 5 years. We know the market share we’d like to have, the revenue we hope to earn and the number of staff we’d like to have. We throw these numbers around so often that it’s easy for them to dominate conversations at the expense of how we’re going to get there.

As the saying goes:

“Vision without execution is hallucination.”

A company with revenues of $1m/year today hoping to achieve revenues of $10m/year within 5 years will require dramatic shifts in how they operate to achieve this goal. There will be things the company will need to stop doing, things they need to start doing and things they need to optimize and continue doing to get there.

Many companies seeking growth, focus the majority of efforts on new initiatives, which, while absolutely necessary, it is important to understand how resources are tied up today. What strategies are legacy efforts that no longer align with the vision and that should be stopped? Piling new initiatives onto teams already stretched with current efforts is futile.

As Jim Collins wrote in his groundbreaking book “Good to Great” in 2001, “Building a visionary company takes 1% vision and 99% alignment.”

[Tweet “”Building a visionary company takes 1% vision and 99% alignment. – Jim Collins””]

Vision demands the following:

  • Clarity of plan and objectives
  • Sufficient time, talent and resources
  • Laser focus
  • Measurable milestones

These together with an alignment of process, people and purpose allow companies to achieve their vision. Company leaders and their department heads must regularly evaluate efforts from a stop, start, continue mindset to ensure that milestones are met on the way to achieving the vision.

A company vision can get team members excited and inspired, but nothing will take the wind out of their sails quicker than continuing pursuing efforts that are clearly not aligned with this vision. Cutting projects and initiatives is hard, but sometimes you need to sacrifice a leg to save the patient.

Time to evaluate your efforts against your vision?

This article may be reprinted when the copyright, link to article and author bio are included. ©2015 Storyforge, LLC.  Please contact us for inquiries.

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Barry Chandler is the co-founder of Storyforge, a brand strategy company focused on helping companies discover their purpose to allow them achieve their vision, build preference and drive margin. Barry has been building award winning businesses since launching his first company in Ireland in 2003. His last company, a digital marketing agency, was acquired in 2012 by a California based publicly traded entertainment company which then hired him as Chief Marketing Officer. It is his belief that the greatest brands seek to change the world, improving the lives of their associates, partners and customers.