Recently, I was debriefing a client on a leadership program I had just conducted and we were discussing some follow-up coaching. I assured the President that I would ensure that everyone aligns with the vision of the organization, to which he replied, “Oh we have lots of visions here.” At first, I thought he was being facetious, unfortunately, he was being serious. Even scarier, he thinks it a good thing for everyone to have different visions. Going forward, to say I have my work cut out for me is an understatement.
In start-up companies, it is common for a great deal of energy to come from the CEO’s vision for the organization. Everyone pitches in and does whatever it takes to get a product out the door and delver outstanding customer service. In these early stages of growth, the CEO’s vision and energy keep the company on a path for growth. However, the focus is different in larger and more mature organizations.
As a company moves beyond the business leader’s span of control, communications become more difficult. This is particularly true if systems are not in place that help drive how work is accomplished. The job of the CEO now becomes one of managing the people and setting a clear picture of the future.
In church, the music minister will say, “Everyone turn to page 128 in their hymnals and lets sing (insert the name of your favorite song here.)” Suddenly, the entire congregation is on the same page, singing the same song and is doing it in harmony. How often does this occur in your organization? The ability of the CEO to refocus the company on what they are there to do and recognize the shift from the company being CEO-focused to enterprise-focused is critical. A study by Bain and Company indicated the organizations that have clearly defined vision and mission statements that are aligned with a strategic plan outperform those who do not. To ensure your organization is on the right track, consider the following questions: