How do you know if your team is aligned on the future of your business?
You don’t unless you ask.
At ORB, we use Visual Thinking to overcome a lot of different business challenges, but some of the greatest have been helping businesses align their goals and unlock the path to a more successful future.
Within any business, focusing on the day-to-day tasks you need to grow the business can often fog the plan for your future. A Forbes business survey revealed that ‘up to 50% of staff time is spent on activities that do not align with company strategy’* . Placing all of your focus on the short-term is an easy rut to get into. Unfortunately in that mix, internal communications are often the first function of the business to suffer. That means that your team isn’t focusing on where your business wants to get to and how they can help you achieve that vision.
Worse, a Staples Small Business Survey revealed that 80% of the 300 small business owners surveyed don't keep track of their business goals, and, not surprisingly, 77 % have yet to achieve their vision for the company** . That can take a huge toll on the behaviours and attitudes of the staff supporting you. If you’re not placing your goals as your biggest priority then, chances are, neither are your team.
The facts are there. Creating a vision for your organisation and on-boarding staff is vital to growing your business.
So what can you do to align your team?
One of the first exercises we undertake with our clients is called Vision 2027. In this exercise, each participant across the room visually represents where they see the business in the next 10 years. From drawing out what your office will look like to mapping out who your future customers will be, everyone gets a chance to give their candid, non-biased opinion of where they see the company’s future. At the end, the room is a visual representation of how similar, or varied, the answers are.
This exercise isn’t designed to exacerbate an organisation’s flaws or weaknesses, it is an opportunity to come together as a business and have an honest conversation about the goals you hope to achieve and, together, devise a plan of action to communicate your vision throughout the business.
Often, this exercise is about more than just your goals for the future. It’s a reality check for how relevant your current brand is to your organisation today and your goals for tomorrow. As your business grows and expands, sometimes your brand needs a health check to ensure it’s fit for purpose and supports, not stalls, your growth.
Here’s a great example.
An international multi-million pound software specialist came to us at a plateau in the business. After several high-growth years, they wanted to proactively motivate staff for the next big push. We kicked off the project with a Visual Thinking Session to better understand the team’s current challenges and begin to map out the plan of action. In the first exercise, Vision 2027, it became clear the team was aligned and motivated by their goal to be an innovative, ‘slick’ tech company in the market. However, discussion quickly highlighted that the current brand’s ‘corporate’ feel didn’t match up to the vision they wanted to achieve.
From that session, we hit the ground running working with the team to create a brand strategy and visual identity that connected their heritage and past success with their ambition and energy for the future.
The take away.
Don’t assume your staff know your business goals and don’t overlook creating a clear vision for your organisation. Staff need to be united on a common goal in order to grow your business in the right direction. Last, but not least, ensure that your brand is your biggest champion for embedding that vision. Visual Thinking exercises like Vision 2027 are an excellent starting point to gauge the room and better understand how you can give your team the tools they need to be aligned and motivated to drive your business forward.
*Cohn, Chuck. “The Best Ways to Approach Goal Setting for Your Business.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 29 May 2015, https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckcohn/2015/05/29/the-best-ways-to-approach-goal-setting-for-your-business/2/#5560243f1c01.
**Westwood, Ryan. “How to Set Business Goals that Yield a Positive ROI.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 18 Dec. 2014, https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanwestwood/2014/12/18/how-to-set-business-goals-that-yield-a-positive-roi/#6ede79404679.