How to build a visionary company (part 1)

Mention ‘vision and mission ‘to most people and you can see eyeballs role, it is corporate speak. If you have ever read some vision and mission statements you might have noticed that  they can verge from being entertaining and not in a good way, to being so dull that reading a company’s health and safety notice can be inspiring by comparison.

However, done right, both can be really valuable to your company, can sustain it for years to come, attract the right business and partners and maintain your relevance, irrespective of market changes.

This 2 part blog will look at:

  • How to build a visionary company - Create a company which will be here tomorrow
  • Mission Possible- Maintaining your relevance, by understanding one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your business.

Why is this all this important?

Companies have been telling me for a while that their budgets have been cut, and more businesses are competing for contracts/briefs. When you have to work harder to stay afloat and have 100 both urgent and important things on your list sometimes the last thing you want to think about it is the big picture. Here is why it is exactly the thing you should be thinking about now to stand out from the crowd.

What is the difference between vision and mission?

Simply put, a vision is big picture and future oriented while the mission is focused on the present. It is the vision that defines the end game and the mission is the road map that will take you there. For vision think leading, for mission, managing.  

How do we create one of these vision things?

A vision is something that will set you apart from other digital, social, corporate companies that are doing something similar, it will bring your brand to life.

Many experts have concluded that a vision should be made up of two parts:

Core ideology - defines what you stand for and why you exist.

Your envisioned future - is what you aspire to become, to achieve, to create—something that will require change to maintain. This should be made up of huge goals, ones that would take 10-30 years to achieve and a colourful picture of what it will look like when you get there.

Core ideology is made up of:

Core values - the 1-3 things that you stand for that will not ever change i.e. if you had enough money never to work again would you still adhere to these values?

And, Purpose – why are you here and doing what you are doing?

When looked at in this way vision contains some big answers to some really big powerful questions. By asking these questions you can really get to the heart of what you are doing and why you are doing it.  

How to find your purpose?

The key part to understanding purpose, it is it never reached but will guide you from afar.

One of the purposes I love is 3M’s. They define their purpose as’ the perpetual quest to solve unsolved problems innovatively’. This statement will automatically lead them into new sectors and innovations whatever they create and links all the things that they do.

To find your companies purpose ask ‘Why?’, a lot. Generally, it is useful to do this as part of an exercise but if you fancy doing it anyway it can really throw your colleagues when you start acting like a 3 year old in meetings. The kinds of ‘whys’ you could include are: ‘Why do you offer this product or service?’ ‘Why is that important?’ After 5-6 whys are the verbal equivalents to a giant spade, they help you dig deeper; you will get to why you do, what you do. That is your purpose, it is not something that you can fake, pluck from thin air or ask people to follow like a rule, it is intrinsic to what you do and why you do it.

Visionary companies understand what should change in a business and what should not.  Your core values are core to your business. Everything else is not. It can create agility in larger companies and should infuse everything your company does both internally and public facing.

This blog post is only a guide for what you can include in a vision statement, yours might be one sentence, or a paragraph but try and define one and see the difference it can make in your business.

Checklist for your vision statement

It need to be short, and use non-management speak


It should not be ordinary but extraordinary and colourful

Does it inspire you and bring your mission and people to life?

Next week we will look at :

Mission possible- Maintaining your relevance, by understanding one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your business.

 Picture by Todd Huffman

Mel Norman1 Comment