Many organizations define their strategic vision in terms of key financial metrics, such as revenue or profit targets. However, our model posits that a strategic vision encompasses much more than financial goals. It’s a combination of what you do, how you do it, and, crucially, why you do it. This trifecta forms the foundation of your organization’s decision-making process, guiding where to invest for growth and aligning all efforts towards a common “north star.”
The problem with a vision focusing solely on revenue and profit targets is that it often fails to motivate the broader workforce. After all, humans aren’t typically inspired by numbers. Furthermore, when the vision is merely financially driven, the path to achieving these goals can lead to detrimental outcomes, such as high turnover, employee burnout, and a lack of morale.
A strategic vision needs to incorporate more than financial targets. It should embody why you do what you do, providing a larger sense of purpose that motivates people to work hard, put in extra time, and feel connected to the broader mission.
So, how can you identify if your organization lacks a clear vision? One key indicator is the struggle to reach your goals. Is the journey toward your objectives painful? Are people feeling uninspired or unenergized? If so, it might not be a flaw in your strategy but rather an indication that your business is missing the soul. This human aspect catalyzes energy and forward momentum.
When a strategic vision is clear and inspiring, it aligns what you say with what you do. Success is not merely judged on revenue. Instead, it’s evaluated based on how well you balance business needs with human needs. Furthermore, regardless of their role, everyone within the organization feels that their daily contributions matter to the bigger picture.
Creating such a robust, soulful vision may sound daunting, but case studies prove it’s worth the effort. When leaders invest time developing and communicating a broad vision, it becomes easier to disseminate throughout the organization, leading to a greater understanding and shared sense of purpose.
However, a lack of clarity in your strategic vision can lead to a transactional organizational culture. In such a culture, interactions are mostly transactional: “You pay me, I do the work,” or “Our customers pay us, we provide a service or product.” While this might result in hiring more people or gaining more customers, it doesn’t necessarily translate to a healthy, sustainable organization.
We estimate that about 90% of businesses operate this way, lacking a compelling, holistic vision. Cultivating conscious leadership and a broader vision requires work, but the benefits outweigh the efforts.
Short-term results might be achievable without a compelling vision, but there’s a long-term price to pay. This cost is reflected in diminished employee performance, reduced profitability, and issues with employee retention. Hence, we don’t just focus on the short-term when discussing strategic vision. We view it as a powerful tool to drive business results today and in the long run, ensuring a healthier, more inspired, and sustainably successful organization.