Welcome to Part 2 of my blog series on Going From Good to GREAT. If you haven’t read Part 1:Creating Core Values in the Relationship Economy yet, I recommend that you read it for a little perspective and understanding of our conversation. On the other hand, even if you haven’t read part 1, I’ve written the series so that each article is independent of the other parts. If you have read my first piece, you might want to skip down a little lower to the guts of Part 2. I have include the upper part of my previous post in the beginning of this article as a quick refresher so it might make a little more sense to you, the reader.

What does it require to take your business or personal life from Good to Great?

VisionI have found in my research and experience the same traits that create a great personal life also create a powerful business life. What’s good for you personally is good for your business as both are intimately connected to people. A company is a living, breathing, entity, just as you are, made up of collective parts that create a whole. It exists within a sphere of relationships, just as you are.

From time to time you’ll see articles written by me in my “Good to Great” series. Today’s article is on creating Core Values. I’ve written it from the corporate perspective, however, even if you don’t own or lead a company, you likely work for one, and knowing the information I’m sharing here is a step forward for you to be an even better version of yourself whether you’re the CEO or at the bottom of the organizational chart. The research and ideas listed here can also be used to cultivate awareness which serves to support you in your journey to be a better human being. What I have come to understand in my experience over the past 25 years researching and speaking on personal and business relationships, is that the skills and techniques that make better organizations also make better people.

social_media_marketingIn today’s world, we are moving into a post-consumer age called the relationship economy. With the widespread use of the internet, instant global communications and most dramatically, social media, we are entering an era defined by two-way relationships between brands and bodies. Today’s consumer wants to be heard, whether it’s to voice a concern to management or request a particular color image on their laptop case. Transactions are being defined by emotions and relationships not just dollars and cents.

According to Forbes Magazine, 78% of consumers say that posts made by companies on social media influence their purchases and an even greater 81% say that posts made by their friends influence their purchasing decisions. This result was from a 2012 survey. One can only imagine with the continued permeation of social media into all aspects of our lives that this number has only increased. Relationships drive purchase decisions. Purchases are the lifeblood of every company.

imagesWith this knowledge, how does an enterprise go from Good to Great? We build relationships. True two-way relationships which interact regularly with customers to receive and act on their input. The customers of today are much more savvy then in years past and expect company’s to pay attention to them. They also have instantaneous and much louder methods for voicing their displeasure as well as their support. (Case in point, the recent media exposure regarding Southwest Airlines and a gentleman and his two young daughters that were booted off a flight for the father Tweeting his displeasure about a rude gate agent. Allegedly the gate agent made him de-plane, and insisted that he delete his Tweet on Twitter before being allowed to re-board and fly. Click for the full article here by ABC News.)

With the Relationship Economy in-mind I’ve laid out the 5 V’s of building a Great Enterprise. The 5 V’s are:

1. Values: Create Core Values
2. Vision: Engage an Effective Vision
3. Validate: Validate Your Employees
4. Village: Build a Village Through Relationships
5. Voice: Listen to the Voice of Your Current and Potential Customers.

These 5 V’s: Values, Vision, Validation, Village and Voice, are built around the concept of improving relationships inside and outside of the company. In fact, the 5 V’s are closely based on my RelationShift® model of success and reflect the importance I put on positive, uplifting relationships in both our personal and business lives.

comp_vision_teaser_by_kirkhIn this article I will speak on concept two: Vision.

What is a Vision? Why is it important? What makes it different from a Mission Statement? These are just some of the many questions people have when I bring up the concept of having a defined Vision.

A Vision is much different from a Mission. A personal or company Mission is the message you share with others which lets them know what you or your company is about. A Vision on the other hand is much more personal, it is strictly for you and other members of your team. The Vision defines what you want your company to be about and where you expect to see it in the future.

Your Vision is the destination in the future that you plan to reach. It is what you, and/or your company can aim for on a daily basis.

visonaryWhy do you need a Vision? Let me ask another question, why do you need to know your destination on any trip? Without a Vision, your organization is rudderless and unsure where to go.

A Vision is also much different than your corporate strategy. Former CEO and current Leadership Consultant, Michael Hyatt says, “Vision and strategy are both important. But there is a priority to them. Vision always comes first. Always. If you have a clear vision, you will eventually attract the right strategy. If you don’t have a clear vision, no strategy will save you.”

A major problem in today’s business world related to Vision? More than 70% of employees do not know their company Vision.

A recent Harvard Business Review article, “When CEOs Talk Strategy, Is Anyone Listening?” found even in high-performing companies which had “clearly articulated public strategies,” only 29% of employees could correctly identify their company’s strategy out of six choices.

blurred-visionAccording to international leadership consultants, Kotter International, “For both the individual and the organization, nothing can be more damaging than a confused and cloudy picture of where they want to go or what they want to become; in short, do they know what success looks and/or feels like?”

Your Vision is an opportunity to build relationships in your organization and outside of it. Make a point to ensure everyone on your team understands the group Vision. Be mindful to live your Vision and base at least part of this vision on recognizing the value of relationships, both inside and outside of the company. With this in mind, employees are encouraged to build sustained and deep relationships with your customers, keeping them in the fold for the long term.

A few key’s on creating and maintaining an effective Vision Statement:

1. Start with a Framework. Use your Mission Statement and Core Competencies as a starting point for articulating your Values.

2. Look Ahead. Think farther ahead then just the next one to 3 years. Your Vision Statement should fall somewhere in the 4-8 year time-frame with 5 years being the standard most organizations follow.

3. Make it simple. Some organizations will make an all encompassing statement that is a paragraph or more in length. Avoid this at all costs. Employees have a much better chance to remember and embrace a Vision Statement that is only a sentence or two in length.

4. Revisit your Vision every year or two. With the passage of time, re-evaluate, is the Vision still relevant? Don’t be afraid to update it and keep it current.

I hope you stop by and visit with me next week as I discuss the third V in the 5 V’s of building a Great Enterprise : Validation.

To your success!