Personal Vision vs. Organization Vision: How They Should Work Together
The concept of a Personal Vision is not unique to business owners. There are various “self-help” books that stress the value of a Personal Vision, and many “life coaches” stress it as well. For a business owner, it may be best to totally forget about the business, talk with loved ones (spouse, family, etc…), and dream about the perfect life ahead of you. Since there are likely to be outside factors that change around you, it’s very important that you revisit your Personal Vision at least once each year to make sure that it is still achievable within the time frame you had previously planned.
The Organizational Vision is a very clear and specific definition of where the business owner wants the business to end up some day. It’s the end point, or the ideal state of the enterprise. It is for internal use, and designed to inform employees exactly where the company is going (destination) so that each of them can understand how their daily activities play a role in reaching that end point. It’s essential that the business owner can actually determine when the Organizational Vision has been achieved, so it needs to be measurable.
Which one should be created first? The Personal Vision must come first if the business owner truly wants to maintain control of his or her personal life. Many business owners were so excited, and naïve, when they started their businesses that their primary focus was on growth. As a result, somewhere along the way the business took control of their personal lives, rather than the reverse. This is why it is so essential that the business owner create the Organizational Vision, and not rely on the “team” to do it — otherwise, the “team” can easily take the business in a direction that is inconsistent with the business owner’s Personal Vision.
Why is each Vision essential? In general, having both Visions will enable the business owner to keep harmony between his or her personal life and business life by clearly defining the desired destination in each “environment,” and continuously monitoring progress toward each of those destinations so that they remain consistent and “top of mind.”
There is no real format to follow when creating your Personal Vision, but be sure to write it down in as much detail as possible, and then keep it in a safe place so that it can be regularly revisited and revised if appropriate.
The Organizational Vision is not likely to change much, although there may be occasions when minor modifications are made. Just remember that the Organizational Vision is meant to provide clarity to employees so that they know exactly why they do what they do, and have a very clear understanding of the desired end point or destination. That means the Organizational Vision is much more likely to be an effective driver if it’s simple to articulate. Ideally, every employee should be able to recite it, if not word for word, in a manner that demonstrates they know the destination.
Do you have a Personal Vision? Is it in writing? Have you reviewed it with those closest to you so that they know your hopes and dreams? Do you revisit it at least annually? How about your Organizational Vision? Do you have one? Is it up to date? Is it easy to understand? Do you communicate it regularly to your employees? Can each employee tell you the Organizational Vision without help? Can they explain how it relates to their specific jobs?
Never underestimate the value of your Personal Vision and Organizational Vision. Remember that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there, so make the path clear!
Bill Matthews is Co-Founder of The WOW Business Advisory, LLC, and author of Five P’s to a “WOW!” Business. Copyright 2012-2016 by The WOW Business Advisory, LLC. All rights reserved.