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Now more than ever it’s important to be transparent about vision and strategy. Elon Musk famously posted Tesla’s long term strategy in 2006. Its last line said “don’t tell anyone.” and it led other start-ups and entrepreneurs to follow suit and be transparent about why they exist and how they’ll go about becoming a ‘stay-up’ not just a start-up.
It’s not uncommon to come across a company where the vision is so depleted that no-one in the company can articulate what it is, or was.
Mostly this happens in large corporations but I have seen it in smaller companies too and start-ups which are past the initial investment stages, it’s almost as though leadership assume everyone knows where they’re headed and why.
The Vision might be exposed at a company meeting a few times but then ends up on the corporate website or intranet or worse in a drawer and isn’t driven home frequently enough.
The same goes for strategy. There might be one that starts as a strategy but then ends up as a number of tactics that different departments have taken the initiative with which they call strategies because they don’t really understand the difference between Vision, Strategy, Plan and Tactics, or worse there’s an assumption that what they are doing fits with the vision and over-arching strategy.
If you want to read more about digital strategy and agility you can read it here:
Some companies are great at physically putting the vision or strategy in parts of the building where they will be seen frequently and in ways that semi articulate the kind of culture they have, e.g. as wall art.
Maybe what’s most important about being transparent with your vision and strategy is that it has so many benefits outside of declaring what the company is doing and why it exists.
I’m not going to write in great detail here about each one, but there’s probably a post in each, in the meantime I’ve provided a few links against each to previous posts that have some linkage.
Here’s a few of the benefits of being transparent with your Vision and Strategy;
Culture — A culture eats strategy for breakfast…well not in all cases, but a companies culture is often driven by the founding members and then driven by subsequent hires. It changes very slowly, so the communication of Vision and Strategy are paramount to building or maintaining a culture (behaviour). Read: Mapping organisational culture
Employee Advocacy — makes it easier for employees to write or promote with authority about who they work (obviously within a framework and utilising tools that allow them to do so).
Vision — Focus and Clarity — when things are transparent it’s easier for people to align their own sense of purpose, goals and achievements with the rest of the business. Read: Digital Transformation and the big opportunity
Employee Engagement — Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose as Dan Pink describes it in his book Drive. These are far easier to align to a vision and strategy that’s known.
Strategy — It’s about Jobs to be done which can apply to a segment just as much as to every user. Read: Segments and Empathy
Resourcing — With the potential rise of the majority of the workforce being employed in an agile capacity, either as contractors, consultants, temporary or freelance, they’ll need to understand the Vision and Strategy of the organisation they’re temporarily working with. Read: HR and Agile Organisation
Processes — It’s important not to operate by a one-size-fits-all decision-making process. Read: High velocity decision making
Customers — Customers or Consumers have all the power now, they have ever increasing channels in which to engage, disrupt or complain about an organisation. Your customers need to know what you stand for too.
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