Vision for your company or organization is singular and focused. Once it is defined and stated, we work backwards. It’s better not to have a vision, never post a vision statement, than to have one posted and do nothing about it or to persist in activities that have no VISIBLE and RECOGNIZABLE connection to it.
The vision spawns strategic planning.
It may seem redundant but let’s look at Lowe’s vision once again:
We will provide customer-valued solutions with the best prices, products, and services to make Lowe’s the first choice for home improvement.
It’s succinct, focused, relevant to the industry, attainable, and noble sounding. It also gives a target for which effective strategies and tactics can be developed to further progress towards it.
Strategies have these four qualifiers:
- Strategies vary from place to place and from time to time. The vision is carved in stone, so to speak. It, the vision statement, should not be altered significantly and absolutely should not be changed from time to time. To do so is to foolishly introduce confusion and frustration into your company or organization. Those associates who work for you will buy in to the vision but they do not have unlimited resources to keep buying in to a new vision every other month.
- Because the pursuit of overall objectives is the privilege and responsibility of leaders, strategies usually originate from them too. But not always! Correlate this with your leadership skills and need to extend your reach. You will need to employ (pun intended) others to help you. They will have ideas as well. The more they are informed about the company’s vision and the more experience they have the more they can offer. This does not neutralize your responsibility to know what to do and why it should be done. Principle #2 in my book “3 Skills of Effective Leadership” is knowing what to do next.
- A strategy is only an expedient, a means to an end, and is therefore expendable. They can, and should, be altered to fit present conditions and circumstances. Ask Blockbuster what happened to their strategies? Best Buy, on the other hand, seems to be making something of a comeback based on altered strategies and tactics to fit a changing market.
- All strategies as subject to unforeseen events and the independent will of the competition. They never survive contact with the real world without some modification. Don’t hold them with the same reverence you do your vision. The vision is paramount. Nothing else is.
Next we begin to tackle the subject of tactics – how to implement strategies and progress towards the vision.