A business vision will define your organization in terms of:
• Who you are
• Who you’re serving
• What makes you unique and easy to choose
• Why you’re doing what you’re doing
• Where you’re going in the future
The longer answer:
You will have consensus among your leadership team in about eight hours on all of these:
- Big goal (a company-wide stretch goal 5 to 10 years into the future)
- Buyers, influencers, partners identified
- Buyer personas defined
- Buyers’ needs mapping
- Category of business
- Collective purpose (the organization’s ‘why’ or mission in a simple statement)
- Competitor’s (differentiators, strengths, and weaknesses identified)
- Organizational analysis
- Regions & industries: current and future possibilities
- Personality: cultural traits
- Value proposition (unique identifier)
- Trends & issues in the market
- Company values
+ Strengths, Advantages, and Benefits: each strength expressed from the buyer’s perspective
(we complete this as extra credit, given time)
The failure of most business ideas, plans, or initiatives is due to a few factors which Vision Platform solves, while traditional methods have not been able to solve them. There are three main factors why traditional methods fail.
Most new initiatives fail because:
1) The core leadership team doesn’t agree on how they define their company, where they are going in the future, and what makes them the best choice for those who buy their products or services. Without the core leadership team in the same meeting there cannot be agreement or alignment throughout the company, which leads to failure on some level and wasted resources.
2) Traditionally, creating a vision takes too long (weeks or months) causing the issues or decisions to become fragmented in the minds of the leaders. Vision Platform gets it done in one day so the leaders can get their minds around all factors that must be considered to create a solid vision. All the leaders will need to be in the meeting for those eight hours.
3) The decisions about the company vision are not trusted (and therefore not followed) because they were not rigorously challenged when they were made. With our workflow, the leadership team adjusts their conclusions until they all say “yes” to a set of challenging questions at the end of each crucial decision. Without the core leadership team in the same meeting, there is no way to get everyone’s doubts or concerns on the table. Without creating a high level of confidence in the vision, the company will not choose to f0llow it. Many will wander off in other directions, wasting resources and creating failure on some level.
You will benefit from this workflow if you are currently unsure if you’re wasting resources and if you want to get the best results from your people.
Or if you want to:
• start a new marketing effort
• improve company culture making it easier to hire and retain talent
• get your leadership on the same page and executing efficiently
• set your company up to reach the next level
• the transition from one leadership team to another
• raise money or expand partnerships
Use this quick check to see if you have already nailed it:
The steps for developing your aligned vision
1) A signed contract and 50% deposit to hold the date for work sessions
2) Combined knowledge
We need to work with someone to identify top trends and issues in your industry, your target audience(s), names of top competitors, identify the core leadership team, and the email addresses for those responding to surveys. This will prepare us so we can send out the surveys.
Initial online surveys
Two weeks before our work session with your leadership team we’ll send out a link to the comprehensive online survey for your core leadership team. It will likely take forty-five to complete.
We will also send an additional, short survey to up to others who know your clients, potential clients or organization well.
3) Aligned Vision
We will meet for eight to ten hours to develop your platform. Your core leadership team will receive training and facilitation from a Vision Platform, Inc. expert, utilizing Vision Platform’s workflow.
Those who attend this session are called the core leadership team. These are the people who make decisions that shape the soul of the organization. This is typically no more than seven people no matter how large the organization is. They all must attend the work session, but no others should attend.
The steps for an aligned execution
4) Aligned execution
When everything is important, nothing is important. Organizations won’t execute well when they don’t prioritize well. The next step is eight-hours of strategic planning based on the organization’s Vision and facilitated by your dedicated expert. The same leadership team will create clear strategic objectives, identify the lagging indicators (the corporate goals) with timelines, identify the leading indicators that are controllable, develop supporting tactics (and/or) projects to improve leading indicators effectiveness.
5) Aligned execution rolled out to the rest of the organization
Business meetings are typically inconsistent and ineffective. Meetings that don’t resolve problems are a waste of time. Our aligned execution method advocates re-setting goals quarterly, enabling them to stay aligned around the three to seven most important priorities that must get done every 90 days. A Vision Platform expert will facilitate these sessions. You will validate which leading indicators are having an impact on the outcome (lagging indicators) and adjust on a quarterly basis. This can be progressively rolled out to as many layers of the organization as you need to accomplish your goals.
We make it useful because it’s not the same old traditional approach. This took us 15 years to perfect. You will want to check out the “Why Vision Platform” page to see the senior people who have been through similar processes but who had an exceptional experience and results.
Getting your leadership team committed to a strategic planning session is a common concern. We have a few options that have worked for others.
We’ve listed them here in order of the shortest time investment to the longest:
- 3-Minute Strategy Check
Send them this link to this 3-minute strategy check or better yet go through it as a group in your next leadership meeting: http://visionplatform.io/self-assessment
- 6-Minute Video: Why strategies fail
Send them this link or better yet, go through it as a group in your next leadership meeting: https://visionplatforminc.com/smart-strategic-planning-video
- 30-Minute Group Demo of Vision Platform with Q&A
Schedule a group demo here: http://visionplatform.io/schedule-demo
- 1-Hour Strategic Check
This an engaging one-hour online meeting where the leadership team evaluates where they’ve nailed their approach to developing a strategy and where there is room for improvement.
See more information here: http://visionplatform.io/1-hour-strategy-check
If none of these seem like the right fit, please contact us directly. We’re happy to work with you to find the right solution. This is a hurdle we can help you overcome.
Chat with our founder: https://tinyurl.com/VPfounderchat
Email us: http://visionplatforminc.com/contact-us
You’ll be the first group to feel that way.
However, if you follow all the guidelines, your entire leadership team participates, and you don’t believe it offers you any value, you’ll get your deposit back and won’t have to pay anything more.
Our desire is to remove all the barriers so every orgnaization will be using this effective method and work the way they always knew they could.
Once you realize there is an easy answer to traditional strategic planning methods and their frustrating results, you still need to allocate the budget and time.
For some, it becomes a chicken and the egg issue.
Do you wait and hope you make a few more sales to cover the cost?
Or do you ask to pay over time so you can get those sales far faster?
You know the best thing for your organization, but we’d love for you to consider these inspiring case studies as you make this decision (100% to 330% growth in seven months or less): visionplatfom.io/case-studies.
Over 100 companies have gone through our method. Many with ridiculous case studies like this:
• Six Nines is grow by 278% in just few months
• IOpipe grew by 330% in five months
• nClouds doubled their staff and revenue in seven months.
• Volant 289% growth in 10 months
• 24% jump in sales in a saturated market with a well-trained sales team
• Jutstice and Soul Foundation wrote their entire business plan in one day
• Another Organization raised $6M because of the clarity they had.
Everyone who uses this method is thrilled about recommending it.
We’re happy to give you contact information for references.
You can check out recent case studies here:
Companies who have used this method:
Traditional methods don’t create confidence and consensus among the leadership team around a simple statement that expresses how you are unique and compelling. This has proven to be crucial for the unified success of an organization. It’s often farmed out to the marketing department or worse to an outside consultant, so there is no ownership among the leadership team. That can create disappointment because marketing, sales, customer service, and those who deliver are going in different directions and saying different things.
We solve the issues traditional methods haven’t. We create consensus, offer a dynamic way to manage the vision in a shifting market, authentic and specific conclusions (no BS allowed), and generate a vision rapidly.
Strategic planning made easy
You get a simple, proven workflow to follow, as well as a dedicated facilitator to ensure you stay on track. This drastically reduces the number and length of meetings.
Instead of it taking six months (and $60K) we do it in ONE DAY!
Align your efforts. Start with consensus
The reason strategic vision is often not adhered to is the leadership team didn’t attain consensus, which means silos remain intact, creating fractures in execution.
High-performing employees understand how everyday tasks are tied to an inspiring vision. A clear, authentic, and relevant vision combined with our goal-setting and tracking method can empower and engage the entire organization.
Unique and compelling differentiator
Traditional methods don’t include creating confidence and consensus around how you are unique and compelling. This has proven to be crucial for all business decisions and is often farmed out to the marketing department or worse to an outside consultant, so there is no ownership among the leadership team. That can create disappointment because marketing, sales, customer service, and those who deliver are going in different directions and saying different things.
Timely course correction
Another reason executions are fractured is that once a strategy is created, the market tends to keep shifting quickly, making the previous thinking outdated in just a few months. We make it easy to adapt your vision and execution plan. You will see all the philosophical dependencies as you update your vision. Your skill sets, buyers, partners, competition, or the market, will likely change often. Using our goal tracker, you will review and re-set goals at a natural pace.
Mitigate risk around what’s getting done
You will have visibility into what is being accomplished as your organization uses our goal tracker.
Authentic and specific vision
Another reason executions fail is the vision is vague and generic (not useful as decision-making criteria). You’ve all seen the mission statements or paragraphs, values, and visions that sound like every other company. Blah, Blah, Blah. Many people roll their eyes at a traditional vision.
Traditional business strategy methods VS. Vision Platform
The short story: traditional methods struggle to engage your organization and customers. Vision Platform does not.
Traditional methods take far too long. Utilize outdated methods that rarely get to the root issues. Struggle to offer concise, authentic, meaningful guidelines for driving business decisions. It’s why strategic initiative fail 50% or more of the time.
The leadership team is exhausted. They’re wasting time and can’t wait to get out of the endless strategy meetings. Understandably, they settle for mediocre conclusions. They have to get back to work.
The organization is often left with a strategic vision that isn’t inspiring or useful for making business decisions. Instead, it sounds just like every other company. To make things worse, it’s out of date in a few months because everything shifts so quickly. Your skills improve, your competition does something new, and your audience is always a moving target. It seems hopeless, which is why so many believe they have to settle for mediocre work—creating a disengaged and disillusioned workforce.
Traditional methods rarely create confidence. They are not rigorous enough and are typically farmed out to someone who has time, so the leadership team never agrees to work together to accomplish the same vision. There is no ownership among the leadership team. They are forced to make decisions on gut instinct rather than in a singular, collective, focused criteria.
No wonder so many roll their eyes at a business vision or strategy exercise. It’s a legitimate response.
What Vision Platform offers is a workflow so any leadership team can unify themselves around a strategic vision—in a day. The organization is encouraged to contribute to the data that is used to develop the vision. Everyone is engaged in the process and committed to who the company is, why they are doing what they are doing, and where they are going in the future.
Vision Platform built into the workflow anti-BS safeguards. Critical conclusions are tested with challenging questions. Pointed question are asked in a specific order, drawing out the best of the leadership team and getting to the root issues. I took over a decade to perfect offline. Now we offer it as software.
It’s dynamic. No matter what your team learns, you can update and know your vision will remain solid. With every change to your vision, philosophical dependencies become obvious. Your vision will remain solid as your organization evolves in a changing world.
And finally, unlike traditional methods, your execution is tied to the vision. Your everyday tasks are clearly part of the inspiring future you are building together. This is a major factor ( some say THE major factor) in high-preforming organizations.
With Vision Platform we go from a discarded, often futile exercise to one that engages the entire organization to make their collective vision a reality.
Short business meetings will become a part of an engaged, collaborative culture if you follow these steps:
Start with a simple, clear business vision. This allows everyone knows why you’re working together, where you’re going, what each person’s goals are, and how their day-to-day tasks tie to an inspiring collective purpose. (Do this rapidly with visionplatform.io)
Use your simple, clear business vision as criteria to make decisions. Using your clear vision as decision criteria for every decision, big or small, you can quickly end rabbit hole discussions. You can easily answer the question, “Decisions become simple. Does the proposed idea support or enhance our collective purpose, values, big goal, culture, and our unique differentiator?” If the answer is no, you can alter your business vision or move on to the next topic, because the idea won’t serve your organization well.
Everyone shows up prepared. Many people believe agenda will create a focused meeting, but we’ve found it requires more. Get every attendee thinking far in advance as possible. Offer them the information that will be presented a head of time and include engaging questions the team will address. This way your meeting will be focused on raising valid points, adding additional insights, and making decisions about moving forward.
Start every meeting by stating the topic, committing to help each other stay on topic and get to the root issues. Too much time is wasted with side topics and conversations. This is important to repeat until it becomes ingrained in your culture.
At Vision Platform we’ve dedicated our lives to perfecting this process. Learn more about how we accelerate this process here:(links to vision platform.io)
You can utilize any element you have already developed, as long as you have confidence in it. There is no requirement to refine it.
Many companies love the rigorous checks built into our process, which increases the confidence in what they already have in place. If you are confident in a few of these elements, we can review what you have and skip that exercise.
The other option is to plug in everything you have and utilize our process be sure it can’t get any better.
Here’s a specific example:
Company values may have been set and are serving the organization well. However, some leadership teams want to know these values are as clear and accurate as possible, in which case, they may choose to double-check them against the rigorous set of questions built into the Vision Platform process.
We’re not a match if:
• You want to cluster power at the top.
• You’d prefer making random, subjective decisions.
• You’d rather be right than rich.
• You’re comfortable with ‘good enough’.
• Your ego is too fragile to be open to new ideas. Same for your core leadership team.
But if you and your leadership team are willing to start with ‘why’, then let’s work together.
Here’s the longer version:
Do not use this method if you believe:
If you clearly articulate and share a Vision Platform, all levels of leadership will be able to execute quickly. The downside is everyone from the top to the bottom will be working toward the same vision. This diversifies power, creates accountability, and may not be desired.
Many idea people feel limited by working toward tangible long-term goals. Sometimes entrepreneurs are not aware that their biggest strength as passionate idea people can also be their biggest weakness unless it’s subject to a little discipline. Our process offers a little discipline when it comes to choosing strategies and tactics.
Executing a loose plan can work if you have extra resources and you can afford to waste some. The waste often comes from executing based on vague guidelines rather than articulating crucial elements, making those elements available to the leaders company-wide, and having the confidence that no one is jumping to unsound conclusions.
Some leaders believe that being responsive to the market excludes them from following guidelines. Many have never seen how a flexible, yet focused, Vision Platform can fuel change rather than hinder it. Unless they are open to developing a dynamic Vision Platform, they might be correct.
This belief has created many non-repeatable success stories, leading to great ideas that are not subject to a larger Vision Platform, which in turn encourages random executions and false starts. Many companies are not aware of the benefits of combining a Vision Platform with business analysis and/or research.
The core leadership team needs to attend the entire work session because the workflow creates consensus around fifteen points that drive the company forward. If they aren’t all in the same meeting, you won’t have a consensus.
This means those who make decisions that shape the company must be in the room to create a solid vision the entire team will have confidence in. What they develop will shape, not only the business direction, marketing, and sales, but will establish decision criteria for all aspects of the company.
1) Get your core leadership team in a meeting for eight hours and get clear on your vision
(the CEO can make this happen)
2) Continue to operate without alignment in the leadership team, which will likely waste a lot of time and resources.
3) Hire an outside consultant who will take six months and sixty grand to tell you who you are and what you should do—that way you only have to read the report in the end. But your leaders will not have ownership and will likely follow their own path. (Save your cash.)
Those that need to attend the Vision Platform onboarding session are what we call the core leadership team. These are the people who make decisions that shape the soul or foundation of the organization. This is typically no more than seven people no matter how large the organization is. They all must attend the Vision Platform Generator session.
Admittedly, this can be challenging. You either get everyone involved or settle for less effective an more time-consuming results.
If you find it difficult to get them involved for an entire day, a one-hour evaluation may be helpful. Check out this option we offer: http://visionplatforminc.com/1-hour-strategy-check
This 1-hour strategy check reduces many conversations that may take months down to one. Everyone will be on board or not!
Utilizing Vision Platform a bonding, harmonizing, and inspiring experience. You will get all the major issues on the table and discuss solutions. Your team will leave equipped with decision-making criteria they agree on. Many teams find themselves standing up and clapping at the end of the day because they cannot believe what they have just accomplished.
Studies show people are far more engaged at work if they understand how their day to day work is connected to a bigger vision.
You can see the results in our case studies: http://visionplatforminc.com/case_studies
We complete most of our sessions online.
However, if you desire an in-person session, additional travel fees will apply depending on your location.
In addition to travel costs, here’s a great checklist:
1) A large screen with an HDMI connection and audio with volume control
2) A strong internet connection (this is crucial)
3) Early access to the room with an available AV person to solve any potential issues
4) Lunch ordered in advance and delivered to the room for a working lunch
5) It would be smart to remind everyone they need to commit to the entire day, including a working lunch. There will be a few short breaks to return a call or email. The core leadership will need to participate for the entire session.
If anyone on the core leadership team is choosing not to fill it out, they should make an informed decision. The risk of the core leadership team not completing the survey will be that we may not be able to finish in the time we have scheduled. This may incur additional cost to reschedule.
This also means we can’t be sure it will work. It means the money-back guarantee is void. 🙁
It’s typically avoidable. Let us help!
Steps to ensure a highly engaged team
Don’t settle for getting people on the same page. Offer them a framework for smart improvisation. Make sure they are deeply engaged and inspired to push themselves to achieve more. Here are the steps to achieving a highly-engaged team.
- Have the courage to create an environment that celebrates honesty, vulnerability and a sense of belonging. These elements are important because failure is part of growth, diverse perspectives make the team stronger, and putting the team above selfish goals or insecurities is part of your culture.
- Utilize input from your organization to develop an authentic and focused vision the entire leadership team agrees on. Define who you are as an organization, why you are doing what you do, and how you are unique from your competition. Also, include an inspiring stretch goal—one your organization may fail to reach. Inspire everyone to push themselves individually and collectively to achieve it.
- Share the vision you have developed and let your people know their insights were valuable in the process. Don’t worry. If it is authentic, it will resonate with them. If it’s not, they will see right through the BS. Check your current strategy with this self-assessment tool.
- Equip your team to make smart decisions quickly by sharing the vision openly. Consistently demonstrate how you make decisions based on that vision and ask them how their recommendations align with the same criteria.
- Consistently set, manage, and execute morale-boosting goals, emphasizing how their work ties to the collective strategic vision and will help the organization reach their mutual goals.
- Have a methodology for updating and sharing the vision as you advance in your collective knowledge and see market changes.
When our founder set out to develop Vision Platform, one of the many business problems she set out to solve was generic, inauthentic visions that are useless for guiding business decisions. It’s one of the reasons too many business visions never become a reality. Everyone knows business BS when they hear it.
Leadership teams often develop a vision that sound at lot like every other company (aka BS).
A traditional vision goes something like this:
“We’ll set the bar”
“We’ll attract high-level talent”
“We’ll be the best ever”
“Blah, blah, blah”
“Our reason for being is to be thought leaders in our field”
“We value integrity, community and innovation
(Oh— and we better throw in a healthy planet if we want to be popular)”
“Our unique differentiator: Well, it isn’t all that unique. It may not be completely accurate to what we deliver, but it’s the best one we could come up with. It might be meaningful to our audience, but e love it. I guess we could re-think it.”
It’s not that these companies or their leadership teams are flawed.
Before Vision Platform there wasn’t a reliable and efficient process to develop a vision that is authentic. We all know the horror stories of marathon meetings to establish the company vision. By the end of every day the team is exhausted. Ending the meeting becomes the goal. The vision becomes ‘good enough’ in everyone’s mind. After all, they must get back to work.
Vision Platform replaces traditional BS with a simple, inspiring and useful strategic business vision.
It starts with an online survey to gather the diverse knowledge within your organization. The software is then pre-populated with that data, so the leadership team developing the vision can utilize that data in the onboarding session.
During the onboarding session the leadership team meets for eight hours over the course of a day or two. The team follows an interactive tutorial that guides you through the workflow, developing conclusions based on the data gathered through the survey.
The workflow uses the ‘Socratic method’ (a framework of questions), breaking down the big decisions into smaller ones, presented in a specific order, making it easy to develop a strategic vision.
Many checks and balances are built into the process to ensure no BS.
Each crucial decision is subject to a challenging set of questions so you end your eight-hour on-boarding session with confidence in the why, what and how of your business.
Nothing is completely fail-safe from BS, but Vision Platform makes it difficult to be satisfied with generic or inauthentic vision. It also creates a strong sense of ownership for the vision, which is priceless for an efficient execution.