When you went into business for yourself as an agent, like others, you probably did so with dreams of building something big from the ground up. At best you’d achieve financial freedom someday, but in the meantime you’d at least get to be your own boss.
You probably had a vision for what you wanted your new company to be when it grew up, and this concept lived happily within the confines of your head.
For a company of one, this scenario works out just fine. As any company grows, however, communicating a vision from the top down becomes one of many challenges you’ll face as a business owner. While a CEO’s vision is a useful compass to steer a company’s strategic direction, it may not be understood properly by a bookkeeper, service rep or administrative assistant without proper context and an effective communication strategy.
Teresa Amabile is a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. She and colleague Steve Kramer have conducted extensive research on what makes people creative, productive, happy and motivated at work. In a recent article they provide a simple guide for communicating vision throughout an organization. They believe that this process comes in three steps:
Articulate an inspirational mission –Leaders need to share the vision they’ve had from the beginning, describe company goals and communicate how those goals serve both the company and its clients.
Ensure company-wide understanding –Leaders at all levels need to ensure that the vision and goals have been received loud and clear. That means every project and every deal that comes in the door makes a contribution toward one of those goals.
Take it down to a tactical level –Supervisors take it upon themselves to help employees understand how their individual daily actions play a role in achieving the company’s goals.
More than anything else, the clear communication of vision and the ability for employees at every level to see how their job contributes to a greater goal create a sense of purpose across your company. This pays dividends in the engagement, productivity and creativity of your team.
As you continue to grow your business, one of the most daunting challenges you’ll face is managing the dynamics of a group of people. Communicating a clear vision and getting everyone focused on common goals ensure that your team will be headed in the right direction. You will find that simple, daily progress toward those goals will keep your staff engaged and energized as you grow your business.