Last week I met with an entrepreneur interested in learning more about the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). I asked if he had a long-term vision, and he enthusiastically responded, “No, but I do have a 3-year lease!”
As entrepreneurs, most of us can relate to this pragmatic way of thinking. If it’s not a lease driving our future, it’s something else like reaching an age milestone, retirement, or a loan coming due.
Too often, we get bogged down in daily operations—putting out fires, chasing shiny balls, and hoping to crystallize our vision when time allows. Somehow, time gets away from us, and we lose valuable opportunities.
Supercharge Your Company’s Vision
A vision is a clear and compelling picture of all you desire to accomplish with your business in the future. It creates a culture-boosting engine that inspires employees, drives results and transforms the workplace.
EOS offers a systematic way to crystalize your company’s vision and then operationalize an action plan to achieve results.
Called the Vision/Traction Organizer (VTO), it has 8 sections:
- Who you are (Core Values)
- Why your organization exists (Core Focus) – your Purpose/Cause/Passion and what you’re great at delivering called your Niche
- Your long-term goal (10-Year Target)
- How you’re going to get there (Marketing Strategy)
- Where you want to go in the more near future (3-Year Picture)
- What you want to accomplish in the next year (1-Year Plan)
- What you want to accomplish in the next quarter (Rocks)
- Any roadblocks that could prevent you from achieving your vision (Issues List)
If you paint a clear and compelling vision, then your people will be able to see the possibilities into the future and determine if they want to be part of it. A sound vision can be a catalyst that brings down departmental silos, inspires staff and managers, and propels the organization forward – with everyone rowing in the same direction.
4 Steps to Consider
Here are 4 steps to help supercharge your company’s vision:
1.) It Begins With YOU.
Sadly, to live without a clear image of your own vision is to live someone else’s vision. So plan a clarity break – an offsite meeting with yourself to get clear on what you care most about and how you want to achieve it. To shed some light on your vision, consider your responses to the following questions:
- What does creating your vision mean for you?
- What are you working on that is making a profound difference to you and others?
- Where would you like to be in 3 years? 5 years? 10 or 20 years?
- What would you achieve if you were ten times bolder?
- What gifts and talents are you currently using?
- What gifts and talents aren’t currently being used that you’d like to put into operation?
- What do you want more of?
- What do you want less of?
- If you had only one year to live, how would you want to live it?
- What do you want to leave for others?
You can also take an Organizational Checkup to assess the strength of your business. This quick questionnaire includes 20 questions that help you pinpoint areas of opportunity for improvement.
2.) Determine a Format.
There are hundreds of strategic planning processes and templates. Structure is important, so make sure to choose one and consistently use it throughout your years in business. If you’re running your company on EOS, update your VTO at your annual planning meeting and review it quarterly to ensure that it’s helping you gain traction on perpetuating the vision. Then passionately communicate it often in as many venues as possible, sharing anecdotes and regularly praising those who perpetuate the vision in every part of the business.
3.) Ensure Leaders and Managers Own the Vision.
Managers must integrate the vision into the goals and objectives of their operations, especially people processes – from hiring to firing, reviewing, recognizing, rewarding and coaching people.
4.) Help People Live the Vision.
Give people opportunities to connect the company vision with their day-to-day work. Engage their ideas in town hall meetings and other forums. Provide training and professional development to help them translate the company’s vision into purposeful action. Use monthly or quarterly all-employee meetings to review your vision and engage people in the conversation with stories, anecdotes and lessons from history. Include updates on the vision in regular company communications.
A Final Thought
A company that fails to define a clear and compelling vision will lack direction – and so will its employees. If they don’t know how your company intends on improving the world, they will most likely move to companies that will. So put a clarity break date with yourself on the calendar and start the process of supercharging your vision!
See the Better Business Systems blog page for more tips and strategies on running an effective business while creating better balance in life.
Vision Without Traction is Hallucination – Gino Wickman