Whether you lead three people on a sales team or ten thousand people across the globe, one of the fundamental aspects of creating a successful enterprise is giving people the comfort, safety, and confidence of an ennobling and positive vision of its future.
Chapter One begins with the crux of any organization, though it’s something that many still do not do effectively: communicating a clear, vivid, compelling, and inspiring vision for the future of the business. The focus of this chapter is not so much about creating a vision (although that is addressed in detail) but about the need for consistent and relentless communication of the vision to every stakeholder in the organization. A lot of leaders have a clear vision for where they are trying to take the organization, yet very few do an adequate job of sharing that vision effectively across their organization.
How to write a vision, mission and values statement
Here are a few websites with guidance on how to write a vision, mission and values statement. Take a quick look at each of these to give you a good feel for the definitions of a vision and mission and some pointers on how to write one. Remember: there are no hard and fast rules, but these sites should give you some insights.
www.ehow.com “How to Write a Vision Statement for a Company”
www.inc.com “Developing Effective Vision and Mission Statements”
www.about.com – Articles about “vision statements”
www.mindtools.com “Mission Statements and Vision Statements”
sinekpartners.typepad.com “Write a Vision Statement that Works”
Building a values-based organization
Sample mission and values statements
The classic of all time: “Man on a Mission” Blog with hundreds of corporate vision, mission and values statements. If you want to see lots and lots of real examples – this is your link:
Say It and Live It
A collection of the 50 best corporate mission statements in America, and an explanation of how each was written, Say It and Live It includes the mission statements of Kellogg’s, IBM, Ben & Jerry’s, Citicorp, Hallmark Cards, Boeing, Reader’s Digest, Southwest Airlines, UPS, Xerox, and others.
The Leadership Challenge
One of the best books ever written on the fundamental characteristics of great leaders. The first of which is honesty, with the idea of being “forward-looking” — in other words visionary — as a close second. This book is well-written, thoroughly researched and highly valuable to anyone that wants to understand the importance of vision and values, and become a more successful leader.
The Northbound Train
Although written in 1998, the Northbound Train remains an excellent resource for understanding how to create a vivid compelling vision and communicate it across your organization. Interestingly, the examples he uses such as IBM, General Motors, GE and Kodak are still relevant today and especially enlightening given what has transpired in the decade since this book was first written.
I had the great fortune of meeting Bill George several years ago at the Aspen Institute Ideas Fest and found him to be one of the most genuine, balanced and values driven leaders I’ve ever met. Both this book and his other book: Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value are superb for a leader wants to understand how to align themselves and their organization with meaningful core values.
What Really Works
This is probably the best book I have ever read on what a company needs to focus on in order to achieve success. Heavily researched, it shows four primary and four secondary management practices that seem to drive organizational excellence. It is a bit of a tough read, but well worth the effort.