The Importance of Vision and How to Communicate the Vision to Your Team
What is Vision?
Founding a business is a journey, not an event. There are so many failures, challenges and unforeseen road bumps on the way, before a business becomes a success story. Of all the factors you need to get right in this journey, vision is said to be the most important. Vision is defined as the capacity to envisage or foresee future trends and act accordingly in business. It is having a clear objective for your business, with both short and long term goals, and working towards the achievement of the same.
For startups, you are the vision bearer as the founder of the business. You need to understand where you want to go, before you can take your team there. It does not have to be concrete, what is important is having a plan. Some people may even call you crazy, but as Michael Jordan once said, “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them”. As the popular saying goes, what the mind can conceive and perceive, it can achieve. A vision gives you a roadmap and a clear destination.
Steve Jobs had a vision. He envisaged a world in which the personal computer would play an integral role across all sectors of life. He was passionate and driven, and compelling in sharing his vision. Rob Campbell, the CEO of Voalte was looking for a job as a young programmer, he met a number of companies, but did not feel like the job fit his needs, until he met Steve Jobs. He says; “Steve Jobs was a magical storyteller. For the next hour, he talked about how personal computers were going to change the world. He painted a picture of how it would change everything about the way we worked, educated our children and entertained ourselves. You couldn’t help but buy in.” That is what a vision does to you, it sets you apart from the rest.
What is the importance of vision?
Imagination is a very powerful tool. All the great inventions made by mankind were attained by individuals who dared to push the limit and go beyond their reality. They had big dreams and were committed in giving their all to bring the dreams to fruition. As the vision bearer for your business, you need to have a vision of where you want to go and what you want to achieve. Steve Jobs envisaged a world where personal computers were key components of all aspects of life. Decades later, we are living life on a digital platform, thanks to the vision of Steve and other innovators similar to him, who dared to dream and do what appeared impossible. Although great entrepreneurs are focused on today, the innovative ones go far because they have a roadmap for tomorrow. That is having vision.
Vision is key to the success of a business because it gives a purpose and mission that goes beyond the making of profit. It sets a business apart from those run purely to make profit. It gives the business a goal to work towards. It provides motivation to the team. Vision is the engine that keeps a business going. Without it the wheels will still turn when going down a slope, but the business will stutter to a stop once the ground levels off, or things start an uphill ascent.
According to Paige Craig, the most important thing with founders is vision that vision is going to carry your team and allow you to push through the tough times. There were many startups that latched on the computer craze, just to make a quick buck. Many eventually folded or sold out when the going gets tough, but Steve Jobs’ vision has made Apple a leading brand in the premium computers segment in the World today.
The world today is very competitive and fast paced. When it comes to the recruitment of talent as a start up, you are competing with global behemoths like google, Microsoft, apple and Facebook for the same talent. With the resources at their disposal, you cannot compete against them by offering a better financial package. But you can compete by offering a compelling vision, and offering the IT talent a chance to be part of something phenomenal, instead of being a footnote in the history of a behemoth or just a cog that ensures that the wheels keep turning.
How to communicate the vision to your team
Walt Disney once said that; “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make the dream a reality.” Having the right team is critical to the attainment of your vision. The right team will be made of people who have bought into and fully share your vision. To get them to that point, you need to communicate your vision to the team in a way that is compelling, enticing and captivating. And herein lies the challenge.
Effective communication involves three aspects, the person communicating, the message and the recipient. You do not have to be the most effective communicator, to get people to buy into your dream. You only need to get it clear and well laid out in your mind, so that you can explain it clearly to your team. Human beings are naturally attracted to big things. The team will buy into and share your vision, if it offers them a unique experience, something that they cannot get elsewhere.
Make the dream so real that it will stick like an artistic masterpiece in their mind, to motivate them when one of the paths towards the attainment of the vision fails. Michael Jordan said; “Every time I feel tired while I am exercising and training, I close my eyes to see that picture, to see that list with my name. This usually motivates me to work again.” This means that although your vision should be great and compelling, it should be based on a solid foundation, upon which the rest of the building will rest. To communicate your vision effectively to your team, you need to understand it and what it entails, have a firm grasp of the circumstances in the surrounding environment, then explain to them in the simplest way possible, how your vision will change that environment for the better. So, what’s your vision for where your company will be tomorrow and ten years from now? Think about that.