“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there”.
Yogi Berra, Three-time MVP, American League
If you, your management team, and the company owners don’t have a clear – and shared – vision of success, you may fail to reach your desired outcomes.
You may end up wearing Mickey Mouse ears instead of sipping rare beers.
Let’s say you and a friend depart New York City with a shared goal of traveling 1,000 miles. Two hours later, one of you lands by plane in Orlando, home of Disney World and, two days later, one of you drives to Kansas City, site of an annual brew-tasting festival. If you’d shared your vision, you could have traveled together to Orlando or Kansas City. Or maybe to St. Louis, a city that offers both theme parks and brewery tours and is 200 miles closer to New York.
If you want your company to reach a specified objective, you must create a shared vision with its key stakeholders – mainly its owners and management team. Your vision and strategy should encompass all areas of the business – financial, operational, marketing, human resources – but should also consider the needs of your owners: their exit strategy, financial return expectations, their capital needs and sources for growth and their expectations for distributions.
A vision and strategy that do not align all parties will be tough to execute and is guaranteed to cause friction along the way.
Here are four steps you can take to ensure that you and your management team share the same vision for success.
1. Look Beyond the Financials: Financial results are the outcome of vision and not the vision itself. Create a vision that generates revenue growth, positive cash flow and high return on capital investment. Shared vision will yield shared results.
2. Provide Ongoing Feedback. Your management teams may tend to get bogged down with day-to-day operations. They may not notice critical changes in the marketplace or other factors that could impede progress. It’s up to you to remind the team of your vision and to lead any needed changes in strategy.
3. Keep Your Management Teams Focused. Pursuing everything is no more productive than pursuing nothing. Some team members will have hard time staying focused. They may pursue the wrong opportunities or miss important ones. Make them weigh decisions based on your vision and strategy for the company’s success.
4. Align Strategy with Market Conditions. Always keep an eye on the market. Your team will get very busy in the executing the plan and may confuse activities with results. They need your guidance in understanding changes in the business environment and adjusting their performance to meet the company vision.