Successful organizations have a vision and the explicitly-defined goals and processes to achieve it
Growth by chance is a possibility, but do you want to bet on it? Growth through purposeful planning is a smarter choice, and there’s an approach that offers actionable steps which create a roadmap to business success.
The most successful organizations have a strong vision and fully define the steps to execute it. They have distinct organizational clarity. Leadership roles and benchmarks are set and accountability is increased. There’s much greater visibility into and control over business drivers. It’s a complete definition of an organization that enables it to gain traction.
We help our clients reach this growth state by working with them to use our Vision/Traction Organizer™.
Everything starts with a vision
You’re planning a future state, and every part of your organization has to understand it. It starts with determining the vision.
Developing a vision and the processes to achieve it involves identifying who you are as an organization; outlining why you do what you do – and what it is exactly what you do; figuring out where you are going in 10 years, 3 years, and 1 year; defining who your clients are; and designating everyone’s role in the organization.
Five questions to accomplish the vision
A great vision answers five questions which define your business and create traction:
- What are your company’s core values? These define your people and what drives them. They describe what you care about and what you value. Together, the core values you select should help explain who you are as an organization.
- What is your core focus? This is where you’ll describe your purpose, cause, or passion. It’s the one thing your organization truly excels at doing. This is not meant to be a general overview. What’s your niche? You’ll make all of your essential decisions based on this core focus. A core focus is where the why meets the what.
- What is your 10-year target? If you maintain your focus, what is the state that you’ll achieve in 10 years? Your answer should be clear and ambitious. In Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras called this the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).
An example could be as detailed as “Achieve revenues of $50 million, serve 2,000 clients, serve every state touching yours with remote offices, build out to a staff of 200 with employee stock options at 49%, achieve a net profit of 30%, and become debt free.” But a great target can also be as simple as “have 90% of market share” or Nike’s legendary (and possibly apocryphal) founding mission: “Crush Adidas.”
- What’s your marketing strategy? You’ve determined where you plan to be in 10 years. What are the marketing and sales efforts that get you there?
This question should push you to describe your target market and message in detail. Define the demographic, geographic, and psychographic elements of your audience, as well as your three unique selling propositions (USPs).
- What is your three-year picture? This is a snapshot of the future three years from now, looking at revenue, profit and five to 15 metrics of what the business looks like.
Three traction questions
Answering these shorter-term questions helps you assess the sustainability of your business and whether you are definitively making progress toward your longer-term goals:
- What’s your one-year picture? You’ve locked in the targets you want to hit in 10 years, and then you brought the picture closer by looking at a three-year snapshot. This question specifically examines what must be done in the next 12 months to be on track to meet the three-year picture.These goals will include revenue, profit, and client numbers, and may include things like client retention rate, the number of employee and the nature of their benefits programs, and your measurable status within the industry. Don’t forget how much time you spend on the business vs. the time you have for your family and personal life.
- What are your “rocks”?These are your highest priorities that must be accomplished within the next 90 days to move your organization closer to nail the goals you established for your one-year picture. Rocks also depend on defining the individual roles and responsibilities to achieve them.
- What are your remaining issues? These are the challenges that you’ll resolve along the way to your targets.
Legendary management consultant Peter Drucker famously said that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” With a well-defined Vision/Traction Organizer, you can define your company’s vision and closely track the metrics that are essential to its success.