Include your COO in vision casting. It's important to attaining your goals
Many times business owners wonder why their business is not going in the direction that they would like it to go.
If asked where they want the business to go, they might say -- I want more, of course. More sales, more great employees, more new products, better facility and the like. As a follow up question, if they are asked what their vision is for the company, they may respond that they just told you -- they want more.
The fact is that some business owners may have written their vision on the back of an envelope when they started their business, this envelope may be in the bottom of their drawer at work somewhere. Of course, since they don't know where it is, they have never shared it with their chief operating officer (COO), who is off on the pursuit of "more," which is what they have been told to do.
For those whom this story resonates with, and for all business owners who have not reviewed or written down their vision in years, it is a great idea to include the COO (or whoever is running the day-to-day business needs of the company) in a process of determining what the vision of the company should be and how to make it so vivid that it can come alive in pictures and then in reality.
The best way to educate your COO (and frankly, the business owner) in this process is to collaborate with an expert in determining the vision. This person can help the business owner, with the COO's assistance, take the vision that is in the business owner's head and put it to paper, where the expert can fine tune it, so it is distinctive for that company and contains details rather than generalizations.
Too many times people look at websites of Fortune 500 companies and attempt to use words that don't relate to what their company is now or will be in the future, or they use generic wording that doesn't really say anything, let alone translate into something exciting and motivating.
Once the vision is established in writing, the business owner and COO, need to share it with their inside team (staff) and outside team (customers, vendors, suppliers, prospective employees) to let them know who the company is and what the vision is going forward. This vivid vision should inform and excite these people to champion the company and assist it in reaching its goals.
For instance, as the outside team comes across opportunities, they may refer these to the company, or as they find individuals who are looking for a great position, they may recommend them to the company.
Now that the COO is educated about the vision itself, and excited to push it forward, the vision needs to be incorporated into the strategic plans for the company. This is also an exercise for the business owner, along with the COO, to make sure that every opportunity is measured against the strategic plans that emanated from the vivid vision.
All of this is a precursor for the COO to be able to "sell" that vision to both inside and outside team members. All goals from the management team members and through the rest of the inside team all come from the implementation of the strategic plans of the company.
The vivid vision is then used at meetings and for goal setting, as this will make a difference for the staff to know the "why" of what they are doing. The "why" being the vivid vision.
Regardless of what your company does or its size, your team should be able to tell you what the vision is they are working for and toward, and it should motivate them and guide them as they perform their job duties.
With a clearly defined and promoted vivid vision everyone in the company is pulling the same direction to accomplish that vision. It seems simple enough, but this is something that is often overlooked or not completely thought out or shared.
Take the time and make the effort to do this, and your company will be rewarded.
• Denice Gierach is an attorney, CPA, Northwestern University business master's graduate, and has owned several businesses including in real estate and manufacturing. She is the lead attorney at Gierach Law Firm in the Chicago area.
With more than 30 years of experience, she has been a respected and sought-after resource for businesses looking to grow, sell, solve problems, and succeed long term. Her insights across business areas gives a fuller lens to business issues and solutions, and helps businesses grow and succeed with less time spent on legal issues and other time-consuming problems.