Note: This is an excerpt from my latest book,Drive One Direction: How to Unleash the Accelerating Power of Alignment. In the One Vision chapter, we highlight companies who unleashed the accelerating power of alignment with an intense focus on One Vision.
Every company has a vision.
But most of them are pretty blurry.
Only 35 percent of adults have 20/20 vision, and an even smaller percentage of companies do.
Most companies suffer from some sort of vision disorder, such as myopia—where they can’t focus on the long-term, or tunnel vision—where they get blindsided by market shifts and discontinuities.
Worse yet, according to Achievers’ 2015 North America Workforce report, a whopping 60 percent of employees did not know their company’s vision.
Fast-lane companies create alignment by having just One Vision. After all, how can you create One Company when every division has a different vision?
While it is critical to have One Vision, there are many ways to articulate one. In fact, we discovered four common ways:
- The “visionary” vision
- The “inspiring” vision
- The “company ambition” vision
- The “Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)” vision
In fast-lane companies, the process of defining the vision is as important as the vision itself. They use a collaborative process that combines top-down aspirations with bottom-up forecasts.
Assumptions are debated. Competitors are studied. Trends are extrapolated.
Of course, smart companies do a gut check before launching the vision. They understand what it will really take to turn the vision into reality. They have “counted the costs.”
There is nothing more demoralizing to a company than a unilateral, top-down vision that is more of a delusional pipe-dream than a vision.
And finally, high-performers make the case for the vision. Every executive—not just the CEO—can passionately articulate the vision and can explain why this is your vision.
Of all the visions you could have chosen, why did you select this One? If you can’t answer that question, no one will buy in.
In this chapter, we will examine how Virgin Hyperloop One, Habitat for Humanity, Southwest Airlines, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving unleashed the accelerating power of alignment with their unique, One-of-a-Kind Visions.