Assuming growth is a priority and you understand why you want to grow, it’s critical to ensure that your most important resource, your team, is on board with you. Inherent in “on board” is reaching a clear understanding and alignment of “why” (see my November 16, 2015, “Let’s Get Growing” post).
Call it whatever you like — mission, purpose, vision — but define it. If you already have one, review it for reconfirmation and redouble your commitment. It should be very specific, brief — preferably a dozen words or less — and easy to remember. Ideally, its creation is a team effort that will result in shared alignment and passion. Ultimately, it drives a “way of life” in your business.
Be disciplined in this process. Some team members will have laser-like focus, while others can take you into the weeds. Consider capturing your core values first. Whether you’ve ever considered core values or not, you have them — you believe them, you operate by them — so simply reduce them to writing. Keep the list reasonably brief, three to six ideals, and make sure they’re a reflection of what really matters to your organization — how you want potential customers/clients to see you.
Why is the “why” so important? The alignment of your company’s efforts begins with an alignment of thoughts. Developing tactical efforts requires making decisions about resource allocation, and a clearly defined consensus of thought becomes your compass for decision-making. This enables you to make the tough choices when developing your action plans.
James Dibler, an owner and CEO of BlueRock Technologies, has taken this effort to a whole new level. As team members join the firm, they are required to read Jim Collins’ books Great by Choice and Good to Great, and Tony Hseih’s book Delivering Happiness. Then the new members are asked to give management a summary of what stood out to them. James is trying to help reinforce his company’s values and purpose, as well as benefit from new ideas reading the books may trigger.
Can you state your core mission, purpose, or vision? If not, it’s likely your team can’t, either. If you can clearly verbalize your mission, purpose, and vision, do you know if your top leaders can? Regardless, it may be time to step back and capture them in writing or reconfirm your collective commitment to them.
With a clearly aligned view of where you and your team are headed, you’ll be ready to proceed to the next planning stage.
Next post: What We Do and How We Do It
Tom’s editorial comment: If, while reading this series, you believe Dan could be helpful to your company, please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 248-701-8787.