One sad comment I hear over and over again from disappointed employees is “The company I work for is just bobbing along going nowhere”.
What a waste. That man or woman was once a child with stars in his eyes and dreams of all the wonderful things he would be a part of achieving. It’s also a crying shame for the company. The most common question I receive from CEOs is: “Why am I not seeing people’s potential? They are not thinking for themselves and turn to me to solve even simple problems.”
Fast growing successful companies do not have that problem
We track, research and interview the companies that are growing fast and profitably year after year. Without exception their people are so engaged they build powerful forward momentum and they are excellent problem solvers. One of the main reasons for that is that the company has a vision that aligns and inspires them. Let us be honest- how many companies have you and I worked for where everyone was pulling together? If you re like me it is very few. Does your company pull together powerfully?
How many of these warning signs ring true?
To find out if your employees understand your company vision and are committed to making it reality, see how many of these warning signs ring true:
1. Your employees do their work but there is little zest or enthusiasm This is the first sign that the vision is not doing its job. If they did they would be coming up with ideas- really good ones, faster ways of doing things, and would be making them happen. Energy levels would be soaring.
2. After meetings people do not implement what was agreed We have all been there. You go through a meeting, agree what will happen as a result and then, less than a day after the meeting you hear that key, even senior people- who you thought new better- are doing just the opposite!
3. If you ask employees what the company vision is they give you different, vague answers and show little enthusiasm
4. The leadership team are all polite with no heated discussions We are taught that this is “correct business behaviour” but, that is rubbish. People have different beliefs and, unless you flush them out, you will never get their real commitment. As a result, any vision you create will be “words” without any real passion or belief. It will sit on a wall and no one will have any real idea what it is all about. You might find this article helpful.
5. Employee productivity is low and focused on issues not solutions This is the complaint I mentioned earlier. Business leaders say “Don’t they (their employees) realise how important it is now for us to make everything we do pay? Some of them are working hard but it is just not achieving what the business needs – as if they are spinning their wheels.”
6. Few people are taking responsibility and making things happen
7. Business momentum has slowed right down
Sadly this is the result of all the above.
Unless a business has forward momentum then it will not grow….. and if it does not grow it will die. So, did you see any of the above reflected in your business?
Pretty worrying eh?
If you are like me though, deep down you knew something was wrong. So this is good news! Now you know what is wrong and you can put it right.
In this tough economy firms can no longer get away with wasting effort. If your people don’t understand your company vision, or it is not compelling enough to capture their imagination and inspire them to action then growth and survival will be impossible. No wonder so many firms are finding it so hard.
Apple is an example of a firm with a superb company vision. Have you ever spoken to an Apple employee? They are inspired by the vision of “making a dent in the universe” or, more specifically: transforming the functional world of computing into something beautiful, with beautiful photos, beautiful music…. beautiful films and beautiful gadgets that people buy in droves.
The result? Their employees wax lyrical and are always looking for good solutions and making things happen. The speed of their growth while Steve Jobs was at the helm was breath taking.
Why is it so important to have a compelling company vision?
Confidence is the holy grail. There has been masses of research to show that when employees have confidence they are far happier at work and productivity soars. In order for employees to feel confident they need to:
- Know where the business is going
- To find that destination so compelling that they will put a lot of effort into making it happen
- See that the leadership team wax lyrical about the vision and lead by example and with passion
- See that the leadership team have clearly worked out exactly what needs to happen to reach that vision
Ok, so know you know what is missing. If you create a company vision that really inspires your employees they will align and engage to help you make your business the success it deserves to be. When will you begin?