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What Is a Company Vision?
A company vision is what motivates employees toward a desired future. It guides all members of an organization and let’s them know where the organization is going. The leadership of an organization uses the company vision in order to influence and encourage employees. A company’s vision shouldn’t be confused with a mission statement. A mission statement explains what a company does and who they are. The vision illustrates where a company hopes to go and what a company hopes to achieve as a result of fulfilling their mission.
Why It’s Important To Have a Vision Statement
A vision statement functions as a guiding star for companies to navigate toward. A vision helps departments know which relevant actions they should choose and helps organizations set their sights on future goals.
- A guiding star. How can you navigate if you don’t know where it is that you are going? C. Davis Fogg described a vision statement as a star that you use to sail your ship. It helps everyone in an organization know where the company is headed. It helps align decision-making and actions.
- Know what actions to choose. Once we know what our desired outcomes are for the future through creating a vision, we can choose activities and actions that align with our vision. If an organization’s actions don’t align with the vision of a company, then the company should rethink its vision. The same can be said about department activities.
- Others will be more likely to follow. If you know where your company will be five years from now, then you are familiar with your company’s vision. Having a clear vision for your organization not only helps the company itself, but its customers, clients and shareholders as well. How can an organization expect employees and clients to trust its direction if the company itself doesn’t know where it’s headed? John C. Maxwell explained this well when he said, “a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” This means if a company has a clear vision, others will be more likely to follow.
Characteristics of a Good Company Vision Statement
A good company vision statement provides an ideal for an organization to strive for. SHRM defines a vision statement as, “inspirational and aspirational and should challenge employees.”
Characteristic 1: It’s Broad Yet Challenging
A good vision statement is broad enough to allow for long-term growth while being specific enough so that an organization can focus on a clear path. If the vision is too specific, then once it is achieved the purpose of the vision is gone. The vision should challenge an organization and its employees so that they continuously improve toward an aspirational outcome. If a vision is too ambiguous, then it will be difficult to determine exactly which direction the company is headed.
Characteristic 2: It Considers Values and Mission
There is a difference between values, mission and vision. The values of a company are what direct employee behavior. The mission statement is a concise statement of the company strategy. A good vision statement reflects a company’s values and mission statement. It is influenced by who and what the company does in order to provide a guide for where the company is going.
Characteristic 3: It’s Simple
As Albert Einstein once said, “everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler.” Although it can be difficult to fit all the necessary details of a vision statement in one to two sentences, the best vision statements keep it simple because they are easier for everyone to understand. If more people know where you’re going, they’ll be more likely to follow.
Examples of Great Company Vision Statements
What do companies intend on providing to their clients, employees and others? Continue reading to view both simple and detailed vision statements that answer this question.
Habitat for Humanity International
Vision statement: “A world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
This vision clearly explains the why of their organization while providing an excellent desired future.
Vision statement: “Our ambition for the coming years is to win over another billion customers around the world by creating the cosmetic products that meet the infinite diversity of their beauty needs and desires.”
This is another great example of a desired future that illustrates the “why” behind L’Oréal’s actions.
Vision statement: Our vision is put into action through programs and a focus on environmental stewardship, activities to benefit society, and a commitment to build shareholder value by making PepsiCo a truly sustainable company. At PepsiCo, we’re committed to achieving business and financial success while leaving a positive imprint on society – delivering what we call Performance with Purpose.
PepsiCo’s vision is an inspirational guide for how the company views future success and provides a straightforward definition of that success.
How To Create Your Own Vision Statement
Step 1: Involve Tenured Management and Employees
It will be much easier to provide a guide for a desired future if you first have a clear understanding of who your company is and what they do. Be sure to involve tenured employees and management who are a good representation of the culture, values and mission in the creation of your vision statement. Once you’ve collected this information, you can begin outlining a vision.
Step 2: Define What Future Success Looks Like
Habitat for Humanity’s vision statement clearly defines what success looks like, which is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. The L’Oréal and PepsiCo examples also define what success looks like for their organizations. In order to help you with this, imagine an ideal future for your company and answer the question, “what will our organization do that will make us successful?”
Step 3: Look to the Future
Think of your organization’s future impact on its geographic market, the services and products that you’ll sell and who you will partner with. What does your future look like? Both L’Oréal and Habitat specifically mention in their vision statements the impact they want to make on the world. By looking toward the future and understanding this end result, you’ll be better able to close gaps and provide direction for your company.
How To Make Your Vision a Part of Your Company’s DNA
You can make your vision a part of your company’s DNA by ensuring that it is specific and authentic to your organization. If a vision statement is too generic, employees will be able to tell that it isn’t catered to their organization and they won’t be motivated by it. You can avoid this by ensuring that your vision statement is authentic to your organization and unique from your competitors.
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Questions You’ve Asked Us About Company Visions
James has worked in the HR field going on 5+ years and currently serves in the role of HR Manager. His areas of expertise are in managing recruiting, onboarding, HR metrics, performance and engagement, employee relations and development. He has earned a masters degree in HR along with the nationally recognized certification of SHRM-CP.
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