Have you shared a vision that is so compelling that your team jumps out of bed every morning and runs into work?
Do you even know what a compelling vision looks like?
Last week, I was Zooming with a coaching client, Almora Hudson, the owner of a second-generation landscape firm in Northern California. They have grown far beyond the founder’s original vision.
And now she has a new, expanded vision for what the company can become in the future, but she struggles to articulate it out loud.
I urged her to write down her vision, and then share it with her team in their upcoming quarterly strategic planning. I suggested she kick off the meeting with her vision because her team is starving to hear what’s in her heart and mind.
Even if you are the original founder, pay heed––because a lack of communication and cloudy vision is a recurring challenge that everyone must overcome. Too many owners are coasting on the old vision of ‘what got them here’.
What Questions Does A Compelling Vision Answer?
A vision tells you where you are going and what the company will look like when you arrive.
Think about Moses leading the Israelites through the desert. To keep them on track, he told them over and over about the glorious land of milk and honey, and what life could look like when they arrived. This kept them moving forward through the extreme desert climate.
Your vision should answer these questions:
TIMEFRAME – Choose a timeframe; how far out is your vision? Some have big hairy audacious visions that go 10 years out. But all teams need a shorter-term vision, i.e. where will we be in 3 years?
CLIENT – What type of client do you want to focus on? And if you are only in residential or commercial, what subtype do you want to focus on? What type of quality do you want to be known for?
(I urged my client to define her residential and commercial clients with the same level of quality. It is much harder, if not impossible, if the quality levels differ.)
SIZE – How big do you want to become? What size jobs do you focus on? How many branches will you have? How large will each division grow in terms of dollars and people, and does it all make sense as a whole?
GEOGRAPHY – What areas do you want to focus on today, and within 3 years will this change?
SPEED – What response times do you want to be known for? (In initial lead contact, in turn around from lead to a sale, for customer complaints, for warranty, etc.)
ENHANCEMENT – What percent of enhancement do you want to be selling to your clients?
(This is the golden ticket question. I urged my client to set a vision goal of 50%, and even higher if you include selling them new larger projects.)
ORGANIZATION – What key roles will need to be filled in the next 3 years? Can you lay it out in an org chart?
WIIFTE – “What’s in it for the employees” if you reach these goals? What can you do to make your employee retention stickier and make the company an even better place to work?
Make your vision specific enough, but leave plenty of areas for your team to take ownership and fill it in with their own ideas and how-tos.
Steal some quiet time and write down your vision. It’s this “hope and dream” that feeds your people’s heart and soul.
When I decided to move to New Orleans, my wife and I were there at an outdoor wine and music bar, and we committed our dream on a paper napkin. “Move to NOLA within 12 months”. We found our home the very next week and moved within two months.
Teddy Russell, CEO of the Russell Landscape Group, says writing down your vision is the first step to making it real. Teddy’s napkin says, “Grow to $100 Million”.
After you cast your vision, repeat it over and over as Moses did. That will make it compelling and more likely to be achieved.