Why having a shared vision is so important

BRND WGN CEO, Peter Jan Grech, explains that having a vision is (or should be) run-of-the-mill for organisations nowadays. It’s sharing it, and making it happen, that is key.

Yes of course BRND WGN has a 2020 Vision. Doesn’t everyone have one by now? But what does having a vision really mean? And why is it so important to share it?

Vision, values, mission, purpose, etc, blah blah… of course you need all that jazz and, if you don’t know how to get that done, our strategy team can help you work through it! But on a serious note, why is it so important? And why is it so useful?

It’s been claimed that as consultants we’re all very good at telling people what they did wrong, or what they should not do. But it is only the brave ones that embrace brutal honesty and really tell clients what they should actually be doing. I believe that the real (and rare) valuable consultants are the ones that are more like sherpas, dredging through the snow and rising through the altitude, whilst pushing and motivating their clients up the slope.

We can help you climb that mountain, but you still need to put in the effort — we will not judge you when you decide to pause and stop, but we sure as hell are going to make you dig deep and find whatever last reserves of energy you have to make you cross to the next pass safely. And, just like that steep mountain peak, you have to be very clear of where you’re going if you really want to get there.

It still surprises me how many organisations out there don’t even have a vague vision of where they are actually heading. It begs the question: how are leaders being measured, and how are your team supposed to even know what ropes they are expected to pull if you don’t? Like the old saying goes: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.”

Sales targets, profit KPIs and market share are all admirable measures of short-term success, but they have nothing to do with vision. In the same way it’s futile to waste too much time on crafting a pristine, granular vision that’s exact and 4K HD clear when it’s bound to change to some degree. You have no control over natural phenomena, the weather, Donald Trump, Brexit, and how the waves of change on the horizon will affect world peace and financial stability. Deal with it.

A vision that’s built for success must be crystal clear to the degree that it’s aspirational, as well as achievable. Your leadership team need to get it, get onboard with it, own it, and work towards making it happen. It must also be clear enough for your juniors and your newly-joined intern to explain, in their own words. That is your acid test.

At BRND WGN we believe that a functional vision is the one that is shared. Shared and owned by everyone in the organisation. But it also needs to be a vision that your clients, partners, and yes, even your competitors, know about. Which is what we believe we have done with our 2020 Vision, which explains where we are heading in the next three years. We meet regularly to discuss, tweak, and measure our progress, but not even enough as we should.

But we know sharing our vision is not a one-off event. It should be a constant North Star that shines as bright as a beacon, drawing all the team on and in. It’s the yard stick to which every decision is pinned on, and measured by. It’s thrown by everyone, at everyone, especially when things start to get blurred by short-term detours and unexpected speed bumps.

We believe an organisation with a clear and shared vision is one that’s built for success because it’s well-equipped and strong enough to deal with whatever is thrown at it. And a good vision is one that keeps being adjusted and polished, reflective of the current landscape of ‘now’, yet aligned and true with your purpose as an organisation. A good vision should and will come organically if you ask the right questions. And never ever stop asking.

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