You may remember the Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll’s story, Alice In Wonderland. One of Cheshire Cat’s most important lessons for Alice was, “if you don’t know where you’re going then any road will get you there.” That’s an absolutely true statement and a vital lesson for business owners and leaders to consider.
As business leaders it is imperative to establish a VISION. Where do you want your business to be in one year? Three years? Five years? What about your personal life? Apply the same timeframes.
Without a written vision we are creatures of habit and of reaction – doing the same things and responding rather than planning and being the driver of your own bus, yacht or jet.
I recently worked with a successful business owner who’d been in business about nine years. The company was doing well but was experiencing some issues, as all companies do from time to time. In hiring me, one of the concerns the two business partners shared was whether they had “the right people on the bus” and whether their employees were in the right seats, doing the right jobs.
As we worked together we discovered that they had not created – or updated – a solid vision for the company. They’d been growing and reacting since the company was founded but without a written vision of where the company was heading. Without one, it was impossible to assess whether they had the right people in the right jobs.
As owners, they first had to decide and design where they wanted to see the company in the next several years. Which markets made the most sense to expand? What was the big picture for their company and for each partner personally?
Through this important reflection and communication with each other, they made some adjustments to roles and positions that aligned with each of the partner’s professional and personal goals. From there they were able to communicate with staff, share the revised direction, discern the roles and responsibilities, and put together an action plan to get there. With this new found direction the business owners were able to determine if they had the right employees in the right positions and they were able to move forward toward their new goals as a team.
Before considering these questions, it was as if the entire staff was in a big boat with everyone paddling with all their might, but the boat was just going in circles until the leaders said, “We’re going to that island over there!”
It’s important to begin with a vision but it’s equally important to re-visit and revise your vision as your company grows, goals are met, and changes occur. I encourage you to start today! If you know where you’re going, then you’ll be ready to choose the road(s) that will get you there.