Testing the vision of your company: Ensuring strategic success

A company’s vision is more than just a pretty statement. In today’s highly competitive business landscape, a well-defined and meaningful vision is crucial for driving your strategic road map toward success.

Your vision serves as a guiding light, providing direction and purpose to your employees and stakeholders. It encapsulates the desired future state and sets the tone for strategic decision-making.

However, it is not enough to simply have a vision statement; it needs to be tested and evaluated to ensure it’s clear, actionable, aligned with goals and capabilities, and measurable.

Without rigorous vision testing — at best — your vision may be just empty words on paper. At worst, it creates confusion throughout your company, inhibits growth and leads to loss of revenues and staff.

Here’s who to check to see if your vision is as good as you think it is.

Defining key phrases and building consensus

To effectively test your company’s vision, it is essential to have a shared understanding of the key phrases used in the vision statement.

This requires a collaborative effort involving senior leadership and key staff members who can contribute their perspectives and insights. By engaging in meaningful discussions and reaching a consensus on the meanings of these phrases, you can help ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to understanding the vision.

Measuring progress toward the vision: Choosing the right indicators

One common challenge in testing a vision statement is determining how to measure its achievement. Vision statements often contain broad and abstract concepts that can be challenging to quantify.

For example, consider the vision statement “providing outstanding value to customers.” How can this statement be measured? To establish measurable indicators, you need to delve deeper into the meaning of the vision and identify specific metrics that reflect its intent.

To measure the achievement of providing outstanding value to customers, you need to identify indicators that are based on solid evidence, rather than mere opinions.

For example, one approach is to focus on quality and service, which are key components of value. You can design surveys to gather customer feedback on the quality and service of your offerings.

Alternatively, you can analyze internal data, such as repeat sales or the percentage of returns, to gauge customer perception of value.

Another example is the vision statement “on-time delivery.”

To measure this, you first need to define what “on-time delivery” means for your organization. For instance, you could specify that manufacturing orders should be delivered within 30 days. With a clear definition in place, you can then establish an indicator, such as the percentage of deliveries made within the promised time frame. This indicator provides a tangible measurement of your organization’s ability to meet its delivery commitments.

Clarifying vision statements for effective measurement

In some cases, vision statements may lack clarity, making it difficult to identify meaningful indicators. To address this challenge, it is crucial to clarify the intent behind each phrase in your vision statement.

For example, if your vision is to be the market leader, you need to specify what aspect of leadership you are aiming for. Is it technological leadership, ethical leadership or customer service leadership? By defining the specific market presence that you seek, such as a higher market share in your lead product, you can create indicators that accurately reflect your vision.

Acceptance criteria for effective indicators

To help ensure that your indicators effectively measure your progress toward your vision, they need to meet certain criteria.

First and foremost, they must be measurable, using quantifiable terms such as numbers, percentages, ratios or averages. Additionally, your indicators should be supported by existing data within your organization or be capable of being captured through your operational processes.

They should be fact based, relying on objective information rather than subjective opinions.

Moreover, your indicators should be reliable, with data sources that are accurate and dependable. Finally, they should accurately convey the intent of your vision, capturing the essence of what you aim to achieve.

Leveraging existing metrics and engaging your team

When testing your vision, it is important to consider whether you already track performance metrics that align with the intent of your vision.

Review your existing indicators and assess their relevance to your vision statement. Those that closely align can be repurposed as vision indicators, providing a seamless connection between your strategic vision and ongoing performance tracking.

Engaging your team in the vision testing process is also crucial. By involving key stakeholders and soliciting their input, you can gain valuable insights and help ensure a shared commitment to the vision.

How Wipfli can help

A compelling vision is a critical component in an organization’s ability to succeed and grow. Wipfli’s organization performance team has decades of experience in helping leaders and their leadership teams work together to build a vision and the metrics to measure its success. Reach out today to learn more about how we help. Check out more about our services here.

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