Company Vision: What is it?

Before we start anything, we usually develop some idea about  the desired outcome. For a company or organizational startups seeking a refocus to get back on track, leaders also should have an idea of how a successful outcome should look and what the company aspires to become.

That outcome, in essence, is the Company’s Vision.

Examples of a Company Vision Statement

The Vision Statement for the Alzheimer’s Association defines their motivation and the desired common goal of the organization in very succinct and precise terms. Its Vision statement, “A world without Alzheimer’s Disease,” defines a purpose that, if ever achieved, would signify total success for their efforts.

With a heartfelt belief that this effective Vision statement is achievable, members of the organization embrace a clear idea, and all their subsequent efforts and activities should point in that direction.

Most importantly, the Vision should keep your organization from venturing off in the wrong direction.

Writing a Compelling Vision Statement

Setting a concise and motivating Company Vision may require some unrestricted thought and soul-searching among the principal stakeholders. In many instances, working with an experienced, unbiased, and objective professional facilitator may facilitate the process and encourage creativity.

When considering an effective and motivating Vision Statement, leaders should ask at least two of these simple questions:

  • What is our Purpose? Why does the organization exist and how do we benefit society? The organization’s Mission Statement and all planned marketing content and actions should evolve from this simple core statement.
  • Where are We Going? Does our Vision clearly reflect how we hope the business will look if we achieve the best possible outcome?

According to a leading Australian Queensland government agency, Business Queensland, your goal in creating a useful Vision statement should include the following characteristics:

  • Clarity, conciseness, and written in simple language
  • Memorable since the Vision should be embraced and recallable by key stakeholders, associates and team members
  • Short, but complete, eliminating unnecessary wording
  • Realistic and attainable
  • Exclusion of details like numeric measures which will likely appear in your Objectives and business plans
  • Creation of a picture in people’s minds and among the entire team
  • Definition of an ideal state or best outcome

Therefore, in as few words as possible, a clear, motivating and powerful Vision Statement creates your long-range intent that depicts where you expect the organization to go from here and which key business decisions need to be implemented.

A Hypothetical Brainstorm

Whether you are just starting your organization or if your company has hit a progress-stopping roadblock, it is time to think again about what you do, why you exist, and who your key customers should be.

Suppose you were Phil Knight, founder of a sports shoe company that would become Nike, at a time when he began promoting running shoes with waffle iron soles to create cushioned footwear for fellow runners.

It is reasonable to assume that Phil may not have envisioned becoming one of the leading sportswear and sports equipment suppliers in the universe. But somewhere along the line, it happened because of the Vision that was created along the way.

Here is an oversimplified fictional recreation of a brainstorming session that Mr. Knight and some of his Associates might have had to arrive at Nike’s current Vision Statement. 

Since Breakthrough’s excellent strategic planning tools may not have been available at the time, the Nike group might have asked a professional facilitator to help stay on topic and organize their collective ideas.

Phil: Today, we will discuss how we will successfully lead our company into the future. Let us begin by deciding what our Vision for the future should be.

Facilitator: This should be a clear statement that, as you look back from some future time, you’ll be able to say that you achieved what we have envisioned.”

(Silence fills the room as the group members ponder the question.)

A1: Since we are in a jogging and running boom here in the 1970s, Phil, I think that we exist to produce and sell as many very good running shoes as possible.

A2: Just very good shoes?

A1: OK, how about excellent running shoes.

Phil: Creating running shoes is what we do now. But might we do more in the future?”

A1: Well, runners do need socks and shirts and other paraphernalia.

Phil: OK, why not? So, maybe we should not limit ourselves to shoes. Maybe we leave the door open to other items that the running shoe buyer might need.

Facilitator: But who will be the shoe buyers?

A2: Runners, obviously.

A1: Are we talking about professional or collegiate runners or simply everyday joggers?

Phil: I would think that the last group, the everyday jogger, or even walker, makes up a far larger market. Everyone, at any age, will find our shoes comfortable for just about any of their activities.

A1: How about shoes for other sports like baseball, basketball, hiking, and so on?

A2: Wow! That broadens the scope a lot. Selling many products to just about everyone seems like a pretty aggressive Vision.

Phil: Then maybe we should see ourselves as a “very broad company.” As my former running coach, Bill Bowerman, says, “Anyone with a body is an athlete.” Our Vision, then, might be to supply all “athletes” with whatever they need to perform at their best.

A1: I assume that means we must be innovative and create a lot more products than just waffle-soled shoes.

Phil: That sounds right. But there must be something else like motivation. When I try on a new pair of running shoes, the first thing I want to do is go for a run to try them out.

A2: You mean you are inspired to see whether those new shoes encourage you to do your best.

Phil: That is true. OK, so maybe we have arrived at a vision to sell inspiring and innovative products to all athletes.

Facilitator: OK, here we go. How about Nike’s Vision will be “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” 

Phil: I think we need to define an athlete the way Coach Bowerman does. “if you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Facilitator: Right. Maybe we should footnote that.

Although this is an over-simplified version of how its Vision came about, Nike has clearly been successful in addressing and achieving its Vision during the past several decades. However, that same Vision continues to be valid as a beacon to the future leaders and associates of the company. Likely Nike will continue to innovate, and there will undoubtedly be millions of new athletes to inspire.

Sharing the Vision

Another vision statement example of a clear non-limiting Corporate Vision is one created by the Swedish company, Ericsson, a global provider of communications equipment and software. As an innovator not restrained by today’s technology, Ericsson envisions being “the prime driver in an all-communications world.”

According to Harvard Business Review, the clarity of Ericsson’s Vision pushes management thinking well beyond the company’s day-to-day activities; it creates a clear and effective vision of what they wish to be.

What’s Next?

Once a Vision is firmly established, organization leaders should begin to work on how to get everything coordinated in order to move in the desired strategic direction in a controlled manner. Each of the “hows” and “whys” should trace back directly to a clear Vision Statement.

A company Mission Statement begins the journey by describing what business the organization will participate in its type of work, clients, and perhaps the level of customer service and the kinds of product it will provide. From the Mission Statement, measurable strategies, action plans, and a wide range of tasks are born.

Another critical feature of the journey to achieving your Vision will be your organizational Values. These define the desired culture and how the company and its associates will behave. Core values may specify that everyone will respect others, always be honest and fair, or always be truthful.

Let Breakthrough Create the Foundation of Your Entire Organization

The journey starts with your Vision. To save time and money in the process, sign up for  Breakthrough, a highly effective software that will help you keep your focus and create clear and exacting Vision and Mission Statements, as well as business ideas and successful habits for the entire company. In addition, Breakthrough offers other essential guidance tools to empower leaders and key staff members in the 21st Century to direct their talents and energies to building the business and establishing a strong community.

For more information, visit the Breakthrough website to learn about our Strategic Planning software tools.

Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing
We have a culture where we are incredibly self critical, we don’t get comfortable with our success.
You have to stay true to your heritage; that's what your brand is about.
The culture is your brand.
Strategy follows people; the right person leads to the right strategy.
Strategy is a system of expedients... It is the art of acting under pressure of the most difficult conditions.
Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.
Strategy without process is little more than a wish list.
The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.
A vision without a strategy remains an illusion.

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