Have you ever wondered what being a visionary in your domain or market truly means? For starters, being a visionary doesn’t mean having your head in the clouds. It means knowing where you stand today, where you desire to be in the future, and what are the decisive, actionable steps needed to get there.
Crafting a vision statement is such a decisive and actionable first step. Unlike a mission statement that specifies your company’s function and values, a vision statement is a short piece of writing that describes where your organization wants to be in five to ten years.
In a word, your vision statement clearly and succinctly anchors your overall strategy, and all other set goals and actions are to be taken to fulfill that vision. So, how does one write an effective vision statement that exudes confidence and resolve in the face of an uncertain future? Try the following guide to get you started.
Identify Your Philosophy and Goals
The key to a confident and resolute vision statement is identifying your company’s philosophy and goals. Your philosophy may be more centered around creating value for shareholders, caring for the environment, or helping small businesses thrive.
Consider IKEA’s vision statement: “Our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people.” This short, concise statement delivers on everything IKEA stands for, namely providing low-cost, high-quality furnishings that suit everyone’s preferences.
Figuring out your company’s ideal market and the goals you will want to achieve in the next 5 to 10 years will be key to moving your philosophy and vision into action. These could be anything, for instance, achieving satisfactory entry into global markets or becoming an industry leader in terms of efficiency or customer satisfaction.
Plan 5-10 Years Ahead
Having identified your company philosophy and goals, you can have a better idea of how to craft your vision statement for the 5-10 years journey ahead. “But how does one plan 5-10 years ahead”, you ask?
This is a nuanced matter and calls for both research and inspiration. You can start off by making a rough analysis of the regional and global scenarios 5-10 years down the line. Where is the industry headed? Are there any emerging technologies that will upset the status quo? Where are your competitors headed?
Answer these questions, then add in the inspiration. What do you hope to achieve with your company realistically? Your plan should be realistic but aspirational and not bogged down by naysaying and pessimism.
Take, for instance, Sony’s vague vision statement that does not concretely put forward what it wants to achieve:
“To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.”
That gives neither employees nor customers a sense of where Sony is headed in 5-10 years. Now, look at Amazon’s well-crafted and clear vision statement in 1995:
“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”
Needless to say, Amazon has continued to make inroads to achieve precisely this vision.
So, in a word, envision where your company wants to be in 5-10 years with clarity and decisiveness.
Play to Strengths
A vision statement is a great opportunity to strategize on how to double down on your strengths. This often means identifying a niche and focusing all efforts on achieving success in that niche.
Take Tesla’s vision statement as an illustration:
“To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Tesla has, from its inception, focused on achieving this goal. It not only produces electric vehicles; the company is at the forefront of bringing sustainable energy to the masses.
You can also play to your company’s strengths in the category or niche that it’s already primed for. As a result, all the company’s goals and efforts will be directed towards achieving success in that area. Guaranteed, manageable success is always better than an uncertain, lofty triumph.
Keep it Terse and Impactful
Remember, a vision statement is not a long document; it should not be as long as a mission statement. You should limit it to 2 or 3 sentences.
As an example, the first sentence can clearly and confidently outline the broad contours of where your company wants to be in the next 5 years. The second sentence can describe why those goals are worth achieving or elaborate on the goals in more detail.
A good rule of thumb is that terseness equals efficacy. It also projects confidence and resolve. A rambling, incoherent statement betrays uncertainty and lack of purpose.
You want to inspire your employees and chart out a confident future for the company, not give them wishy-washy ideals to live by.
Just look at Walmart’s vision statement: “We save people money so they can live better.”
Right on point, Walmart has shown that brevity equals impact with its vision statement. The statement aligns well with what we have recommended in the previous tips as well.
The company has clearly known what to focus on, and, as a result, it has dominated the retail industry in the US for multiple decades.
So, keep your vision statement brief and impactful with strong active-voice sentences. Show that your company knows what it’s about, where its strengths lie, and where it wants to be.
A vision statement amounts to nothing if it isn’t executed well or followed upon. You need to revisit your vision statement regularly and consistently to make sure you, your employees, and your organization are headed down the right path as you pursue your goals for the next 5-10 years.
When this period ends, you can rewrite another statement to chart out the next 5-10 years. Remember: a vision statement is always evolving and guiding a company’s journey!
We hope these tips will be helpful in your process of writing an effective vision statement that exudes confidence and resolve. Godspeed on your journey! Get to Growing!