How To Draft a Vision Statement In a Startup
A sense of ?destiny? is essential in unleashing discretionary effort in any organisation, more so in startups, where it is either do or die. Guiding people to become a part of the company vision is the first step in building a great startup. All other ingredients of startup success flow from this foundational element. It is impossible, for example, to set up work processes and measures of success if the vision and purpose are unclear. Unclear vision & mission lead to hazy goals and your efforts will be wasted in no time because you do not know why you are doing? What you are doing.
Everyone wants to be part of something meaningful. In Competing for the Future, Hamel and Prahalad (1994) punctuate their discussion of destiny with this employee quote: ?I have worked here for eight years. The pressure for profit improvement, quality improvement and cost containment never goes away. But I never had any sense of being part of a worldwide team, fighting a global war. And I never really understood the consequences of winning or losing?.
Using an appropriately deliberated vision statement you can make the first set of employees in your startup extremely focused on what needs to be done and what needs to be avoided. Focused employees who feel connected to the company, will make your startup move mountains.
How to draft a vision statement in a startup
If appropriate for the organization, a vision statement can be drafted first with the leadership team and then presented and worked through with a design team or representative sample of the whole. Using this draft as a sort of ?straw model? helps the leadership team get to common ground. By then opening up the debate to the larger team, they give a visible and tangible signal about the way in which leaders are expected to lead.
Interesting Read:?Startup Thought Leaders
To contribute to vision work, people first need context. Ask executive leaders to help educate and enroll people in vision and purpose. Executives can paint the picture by answering the following questions:
– What is the industry landscape?
– Who are our competitors? What makes them formidable?
– How do we compare?
– What are our customer requirements? How do we know?
– What product or service will we deliver?
– What is our strategy?
– How do we want to be known?
– When we are successful, what will that mean to our customers, our employees, and our shareholders?
– How would we describe our vision and purpose?our destiny?
Getting people ?enrolled? in the vision requires involvement. Once executive leaders have painted the picture, consider the following activities to involve everyone from your startup company and create shared ownership:
Explore the context.
Use a senior leader ?panel? to discuss the above points. Have people at table groups that mix functional expertise and experience discuss what they thought they heard and identify key questions for the panel. Moderate a panel discussion asking questions from the tables.
Imagine the future.
Present a draft vision. Ask people to imagine what it would be like to be wildly successful three to five years into the future. What would they see? What would they hear? What would customers be saying? What would it look and feel like to work on a wildly successful team? Add to the vision to make it even more compelling.
Write ?headlines? for industry news publications or business magazines. Create individual or group ?paintings? depicting the vision.
In startups what matters the most is the ability to think together, not alone. Using a visioning exercise you can get your startup team members to think imaginatively about what really matters, incorporating diverse perspectives that go beyond conventional wisdom and thoughts.