How to Create a Shared Company Vision that Will Energize Your Entire Team
After years of sleepless nights, spending time away from family, not having time to hang out with friends and countless other sacrifices, your startup is finally getting the momentum you’ve worked so hard for.
With the growth of your bottom line, you’re also able to grow your team, and you decide to bring together the best talent you can find to create the proper launch of your business.
You know the people you’ve chosen are some of the greatest at what they do, but there’s something you forgot about.
While we think teamwork is easy, it’s not.
You can’t just throw a talented group of people together and expect them to get along; they’re naturally going to butt heads because they each have their perspectives and ideas that they bring to the table.
And while you may think that the best solution to bring your team together is to rally them behind a clear vision statement, you’re wrong to believe that this is the first step.
In fact, rallying your team together behind a shared vision is the last step in creating a winning team culture.
You see, creating a powerful team and influential culture is a foundational process. Your startup team must first lay the groundwork before the entire team can rally behind an all-encompassing vision.
The initial five steps that your team must endure on your way to creating a winning culture are listed below. If you have not already, I recommend going through each step below to fully understand the process and help your team reach the sixth and final step.
When your team has moved through the five steps listed above, it’s finally time to lead them through the sixth and final step, creating an all-encompassing team vision.
When team members realize they all have one common goal, they understand it’s in their best interest to work together productively to better the team and the mission.
In this article, I will share with you:
- Three essential steps in creating a shared company vision that will inspire your team.
- Three ways to effectively communicate your company vision to your entire team.
- Three elements that will help you and your team create your own shared team vision that will energize your entire team.
Rallying your team together behind a shared vision is the last step in creating a winning team culture.
Table of Contents:
Four Essential Steps
Step 1: Build an inclusive culture.
It turns out the best-kept secret to peak team performance is the creation of psychological safety that comes from a sense of belonging among team members.
In the video below, I share how to create a sense of belonging and foster psychological safety on your own team.
Belonging cues are subtle hints that show us that others share the same norms and values that we do; they’re non-verbal cues we use to create connection and psychological safety within a group.
Psychological safety is an individual’s perception of the consequences of taking risks and being vulnerable in front of their teammates.
When psychological safety is present, team members feel empowered to take risks and speak their minds, encouraging creativity and productive discussion.
Such creativity and productive discussion are essential for inclusively involving your team in articulating a shared company vision.
People often think that by creating an all-encompassing shared team vision, this will bring team members together, but they’re wrong.
If your team members don’t feel comfortable around each other, they’re never going to speak up or be involved in creating a team vision.
Instead, they will sit back and nod their heads as you come up with something they’ll never connect to or rally behind.
That is why psychological safety is so important. Without it, you can’t fully involve your team members in creating a shared company vision.
It’s essential that you AND your team articulate a sense of purpose together because that’s how you will create a shared dream everyone can root for; if team members don’t stand behind a common goal, your startup will never make it off the ground.
Step 2: Set big, but realistic goals.
As you come together with your team, remember that while it’s important to dream big, you must also keep your company goals realistic and tangible.
Although it is often tempting to ‘go big or go home’ to create the most inspiring team vision, these visions often fall flat because nobody actually understands what they are and how to get there.
While it’s true that the purpose of a vision statement is to stretch boundaries and empower people within an organization with a sense of what could be, it also needs to communicate what your team is here to do clearly.
If a mission statement is too vague, it’s no longer powerful and just a flimsy idea nobody can rally behind.
Instead, you need to decide on a clear outcome for your vision statement, an outcome that your team will be proud to pursue.
By focusing on a clear outcome, you keep your vision grounded in reality, which helps avoid an abstract goal that nobody understands.
Additionally, by focusing on a clear outcome within your vision statement, you ensure that this common vision that you want your team to rally behind aligns with the organization’s actual goals.
For example, in the 80s, Microsoft’s vision statement was to have a computer in every home running Microsoft software. While this goal is ambitious, it is also clear and straightforward and aligns with its overall operations.
Microsoft’s goal, to have their software in every home, makes every operation and objective easy to reach within their company.
For example, suppose you expect every home to be running Microsoft software. In that case, the software needs to be relatively affordable. Therefore, the finance team understands what pricing needs to be set on products and how many units of a product need to be sold.
The engineering team understands that it needs to be a smooth-running software that is user friendly so that everyone will want to download it. The marketing team understands you need to frame it to convince people it will make their lives easier by having it.
So you see, when everyone within the company has one common goal it makes it easier for departments and individuals to set sub-goals and determine tactics that align with the company’s shared vision.
Step 3: Update your vision statement as your priorities change.
It’s essential to understand that vision statements, like your business, aren’t static as your business grows and changes, so will your vision statement.
In other words, you need to be able to adapt your vision statement to the changing needs of your business.
For example, Ford Motors’ original vision statement was to produce a car that everyone can afford.
Fast forward 50 years and everyone had a vehicle - Ford Motors had to update their company vision.
Today Ford’s vision statement is to become the world’s most trusted company, designing smart vehicles for a smart world.
By having the adaptability to renew its vision statement, Ford continues to have a clear focus for their company and their team.
But, Ford can accomplish reaching this renewed vision because they have an adaptable team.
Teams that adapt to the market’s environmental demands have better leverage their business ahead of the competition.
Adaptable teams gain leverage ahead of the competition because they understand how to come together. They trust one another and know how to work together towards a common goal, no matter what that common goal is.
As such, an adaptable team allows you to create fluid vision statements that can change to the needs of your business.
Having a renewable vision ensures that there is always a clear path for your team members to work towards.
How to Communicate the Vision Employees Can Rally Behind
Another critical step in ensuring that you have an empowering company vision shared by your entire team is proper communication.
You can’t assume that your company visions will be communicated from the top-down. You must install it in all employees from the bottom up.
For a company's vision to be truly inspiring and motivating, it must be felt by every single employee within the organization, no matter their ranking.
When every employee stands behind an all-encompassing company vision, it ensures that this company vision becomes a part of team culture. Rather than the team vision just being something that’s hung up on the wall, every employee is practiced in the organization.
To foster a company vision in every single member of your team, here are three steps you can follow.
1. Create a team of leaders.
The best way to ensure that your entire team lives by your company’s vision statement is to have fluid leadership throughout your entire team. Fluid leadership is ….
When team members act as leaders, they take initiative.
Small acts of leadership ripple throughout the entire team, and soon, every member of your startup is working towards furthering the company’s position.
When team members have the autonomy to act as leaders within their positions, they’re more engaged with their work and naturally work towards achieving goals that advance themselves and their entire team and organization.
2. Celebrate wins.
Another way to ensure that all team members embody the entire organization’s vision statement is to celebrate individual and team wins.
By rewarding and recognizing team members to contribute to the organization’s ultimate goals, you’re communicating to your team what those goals are and how their work helps the organization achieve those goals.
Be sure to collect and publish stories of team members who go the extra mile and honor those working to advance the company goal.
Publishing your team’s work and highlight the importance of team action.
3. Brainstorm the team vision in a design thinking workshop.
If you’re new to the idea of design thinking, watch the short video below to learn more.
A. Conduct interviews with your team members.
The first step in ensuring that everyone can rally behind a common vision is to understand what motivates your team members.
Conduct interviews to get an idea about what motivates your employees and why they want to work for your business.
By empathizing with your team members' situation, you will gain a sense of what it means to work for your company and how it relates to your organization’s ultimate vision.
B. Find common ground.
The next step in helping every employee understand a shared team vision is to help them find common ground.
Go through the interviews you conducted with your team members and highlight commonalities between each.
By showing employees the common thread, they all weave, you motivate them to work together on a shared purpose.
C. Bring your team together to brainstorm.
Once team members understand how they all play a part in working together towards a common goal, it’s time to bring everyone together to decide what that common goal should be.
Involve everyone in the discussion of your company’s all-encompassing vision.
As discussed earlier, the only way for everyone to rally behind a shared vision is to ensure that everyone has had a say in that vision and understands what their role is towards making that vision a reality.
D. Create a prototype vision.
Once you and your team develop ideas about what you think you all should work towards, you need to finalize your vision and put it into words.
Take your brainstorming and creativity from the previous step to summarize your vision statement into a powerful phrase.
Describe the destination your team is aiming towards and why it’s essential in such a way that energizes and motivates the entire team.
E. Test it out.
The final step to ensuring that your entire team communicates and embodies your company’s vision statement is to test it out.
Once you’ve finalized your vision, encourage your team to live by it.
Ensure that the vision statement helps your team set clear goals and clarifies the entire team’s objectives.
If you find that the vision statement created is not conducive to business and team success, adapt and change it.
As discussed earlier, your vision statement should be renewable, and you may need to change it and reiterate numerous times before you get it just right.
The Three Elements of an Inspiring Vision Statement
Here is a small and easy to use list that you should keep handy as you and your team start to create your all-encompassing company vision statement. This list will give you a template as you work towards making your vision statement.
1. Set a standard of excellence.
Imagine you’re ten years down the road and Forbes Magazine interviews you.
What do you want to tell them that you and your team have accomplished, what are you proud of?
Design your vision statement accordingly.
You want your vision statement to be a reflection of the quality you offer your consumer base.
2. Clarify direction and purpose.
Make sure your vision is clear and easy to understand and has intent behind it.
For example, this vision statement: Frozen food that tastes as good as Mom’s home cooked meals is simple and straightforward, but there is no intent behind it.
But to get your team to rally behind it, they need to understand why it’s important.
So to improve the vision statement above, you would add, We deliver wholesome and nutritious food that tastes as good as Mom’s, to improve the quality of life of our customers.
3. Make it inspirational.
Your vision statement should inspire your employees to take action.
As stated prior, it should be ambitious and not limited by the current circumstances your business finds itself under.
To help you understand the importance of these three steps in creating your vision statement, I have provided examples of three quality vision statements below that you can use as inspiration when creating yours.
- Southwest Airlines: To connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.
- Disneyland: Create a place for people to find happiness and knowledge.
- Apple: We are on the face of the earth to make great products, and that’s not changing. We don’t settle for anything less than excellence.
Final Food for Thought
Once you’ve taken your team through the foundational steps of psychological safety, empowerment, embracing conflict, a culture of leadership, and making an impact, you are finally ready to lead them through the final step of coming together behind an all-encompassing vision.
Remember, your company’s vision is more than just words on paper. You must use your vision statement to make business decisions every day.
As a leader creating and nurturing your business’s culture by providing direction and motivation to your team through an all-encompassing and hire vision is one of your most important roles.
Use metaphors and stories to continually connect your team to a bigger vision of what your business is accomplishing.
When you’re clear about the future that your startup team is building, then your team can band together and rally behind that vision.
Having a clear and inspiring vision motivates employees to do their best work to uphold the organization’s values and goals.
In the end, your vision statement drives behavior, creativity, commitment, engagement, and determination throughout your entire startup team.