Writing an exceptional vision statement is a challenge. Get it right, and your vision statement will inspire everyone on your team and all your key stakeholders to work together.
The end result is a collaborative effort to achieve your ultimate why for being in business. When that happens, you know you have a world-class vision statement. Use this advice as your guide to create a vision statement in four steps.
What is a vision statement and why is it important?
Let’s start with the basics.
A vision statement helps a company describe its desirable long-term goals. Where is it you want your company to be in a few years’ time?
Although your vision statement doesn’t require a deadline on how soon you want your it to come to fruition, think about what’s achievable in the next three years.
That gives you enough time to put the actions in place you need to achieve your vision, and it’s not so distant that the world and economies may fundamentally change, making your initial vision no longer applicable to your goals.
It’s essential to write a captivating vision statement. It has to be achievable and easy to visualize. If people have trouble creating a mental picture of your vision statement, they will not believe in it.
You can say that a vision statement is an inspiration summary – or a guide – to remind you of the reason your organization exists.
A succinct vision statement can help align all internal and external stakeholders, ensuring everyone’s actions contribute towards your company’s vision.
Let’s get started. Here are four steps you can follow to create a flawless vision statement.
Step #1 – Defining what your organization does
Your first step is to be exceptionally clear about what you want to do as a company. Make sure you make it output-focused. For instance, Google’s statement is “to provide access to the world's information in one click.”
Your vision statement must only state what you wish to achieve, regardless of what you do internally to make it a reality. For example, the first part of the StrategyX vision statement is, “our customers achieve their vision, mission and goals.”
This describes what we want to achieve. We will also know when we have achieved our vision, because we are able to prove that our customers are achieving their goals.
Step #2 – Defining what makes you unique
After you have clearly stated what you want to achieve, it’s time to let everyone know what makes your organization unique.
Understanding your core competencies, or the skills you are better at than anyone else, is key to understanding how you can stand out from the crowd. They’re what make you unique.
Listen to our podcast titled How Core Competencies Will Future-proof Your Business to get a better understanding of how to differentiate your business from your competitors.
Step #3 – Applying high-level qualification
One of the most common issues with most vision statements is not the writing quality. Ironically, the main cause of failure is being too visionary – stating a far-fetched idea that is just not achievable.
Do not set an unrealistic vision, because most people will be cynical about a concept with no end in sight. Your vision must be achievable. You must be able to at some point say, “We have achieved it.” Imagine yourself as an architect.
You’ll want to paint a clear picture in everyone’s mind of what the building will look like. You need to be able to say, “Here are examples of how we know we are achieving our vision.”
Step #4 – Adding Relatable Emotional Aspect
By this stage, your vision statement is already precise. Now is the time to take it up a notch and make it excellent. You must add a human or real-world aspect to it.
This is the final trick – get it right and you’ll have a world-class vision statement to serve you for many years to come.
The emotional or human touch will help people form a solid mental image of your vision statement. Plus, adding a real-world or practical aspect will make your vision more memorable.
For example, you can add a human touch and tweak your statement to say, “a smartphone in every professional’s hand.” Anybody who reads it can easily visualize every professional worker using your smartphone.
At StrategyX the last part of our vision statement is, “so that business owners, investors, and employees can live their lives full of opportunity.”
4 additional tips for writing effective vision statements
- Always use present tense. For example, “Our customers achieve their goals.”
- Use concise language free of jargon.
- Infuse your message with a bit of passion and inspiration.
- Finally, create a strategy to communicate the vision statement to your employees.
Ensure you follow these tips to write and communicate an amazing vision statement for both your internal stakeholders (employees) and your external stakeholders (customers and suppliers)
- Define what your organization does.
- Ensure your vision statement meets the test of the high-level qualification of “make it real and achievable.”
- If possible, explain in your vision statement what makes you different from your competitors. At StrategyX we don’t have this in our vision statement, but it’s included in our mission statement, which you can read about in our next podcast.
- Add something that everyone can relate to. The StrategyX vision statement says we want all business owners, investors and employees to live their lives full of opportunity.
Let’s finish with the StrategyX vision statement:
Our vision is to see our customers achieve their vision, mission and goals so that business owners, investors and employees can live their lives full of opportunity.
Get in touch with us for more information on how to write world-class vision statements, irrespective of your industry, business type or niche.