When founders, investors, and the whole team are aligned around a common vision, it’s one of the most powerful things that can happen to a start-up. Everybody works toward the same goals. It’s much easier to attract investors, teammates and partners to join your efforts. And, decisions are made much more efficiently since no one is arguing about the general direction.
Yet, implementing a company vision is easier said than done. What can a founder do to ensure that everybody understands and internalizes the company vision? Here are three best practices:
The company vision may be obvious to you – after all, you came up with it. However, that’s not the case for everyone else. You need to consistently repeat and re-repeat the vision so it’s just as clear and present to everyone else. For example, one of our portfolio founders opens every single board meeting with a reminder of the company mission. He also includes the mission in the very first slide/phrase on any board doc. Keep repeating the vision. Even if you feel that you’ve said it too many times, it’s probably just enough for everyone else.
Too often there’s a disconnect between the company’s mission statement and its day-to-day priorities and resource allocation. Setting a vision is meaningless if the company doesn’t live by it every single day. This means that if you set out to do x, you should kill every single project on the roadmap that doesn’t support x. If you set out to do y, no resource should go to anything else other than y.
Make it theirs
A vision becomes really powerful when it is embraced by the whole company. In order for this to happen, the vision needs to belong to everyone, and not just the founder. Encourage your team to come up with their own ways to contribute to the company vision on a daily basis, either through their personal, team or department goals/KPI. Break down the big picture into what it means for managers and their team.
The bottom line is that a company is rudderless without a central vision. As a founder, you may be personally driven to solve a particular problem, but it’s just as important to make sure that everyone else is just as clear and invested in the vision as well.