When you started your business, did you have a vision statement? At a recent Company of Women breakfast, speaker Adriana Girdler, challenged us to revisit our vision statements. The one-liners, she observed, no longer cut it. They’ve become too ambiguous and therefore subject to mixed interpretation.
As someone who works with Fortune 500 corporations, Adriana often finds that it is the lack of a clear vision and vision statement that creates issues within the organization. If it is not clear what you are meant to be doing, how can you know if you’ve got there or if a shiny new project fits with what you are supposed to be doing?
Good point. When I worked in the non-profit sector, our mission statement was crucial as it spelt out the mandate, and without a mandate, it can be all too easy to go off in too many different directions. In fact many charities can hurt themselves by “ambulance chasing” – in that they’d go after funding without giving too much consideration as to whether the proposed project actually fitted with their mandate.
I suspect the same could happen in business. Clearly if something is profitable and makes more money than your “pet” project, it might be time to revisit and determine what business are you in. Perhaps your “pet project” becomes a sideline and you focus your energies on what is working for you and what is paying the bills.
Adriana also encouraged people to look at their vision statement visually. By that she meant to add visuals that illustrated the way you want to run your business and what you want to achieve. To help companies do just that, she has developed The Visual Vision Statement Doodle Book which walks you through the process.
Prompted by Adriana’s talk, I pulled up my original business plan from fourteen years ago. What did I say back then? “Our purpose is to create a supportive environment through which women can realize their potential and actively pursue their dreams.”
Hmm. Certainly we haven’t changed much over the years, but it is a bit vague and we have narrowed in our target audience to women in business, especially women entrepreneurs and broadened what we do beyond support, to providing the tools and training to help women get ahead.
So I have started to craft a new vision statement. How does this sound? “To build a caring community of women in business, that supports, empowers and educates women so they can achieve success on their own terms.”
To me this is a work in progress and in the months ahead my team will be revisiting this, as this is a team task, one that we need to work on together so we are literally all on the same page and clear on what we want to achieve.
What do you think? Maybe it is time for you to revisit your vision statement and gain clarity on what success looks like for you.