“Clarify your vision, and you will make better decisions about people, processes, finances, strategies, and customers.”Gino Wickman is the author of Traction: Get a Grip on your Business.
The Vision clearly defines “who and what your organization is, where it’s going, and how it’s going to get there.” The Vision is one of the Six Key Components of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®), which is a framework and toolbox to help leadership teams improve and grow their companies. To learn more about EOS®, you can read our summary of Traction.
The first step in gaining traction is to clarify your vision for your organization. Implementing the Vision Component involves “getting everyone in the organization 100% on the same page with where your company is going and how you’re going to get there.” With a clear vision for you and your business, you will be ready to make significant business decisions regarding your strategies, people, customers, issues, processes, and finances.
Vision/Traction Organizer (VTO)
The VTO is a “two-page document that helps your leadership team define, document, agree on, and share the company vision.”
The Vision should be documented to communicate to everyone in the organization where you are going and how you will get there. The book, Traction: Get a Grip on your Business, discusses the VTO in detail with the EOS website providing the VTO for download. The VTO will help your leadership team put the vision and strategic plan into writing. Leaders may understand their visions clearly; however, for the business to grow and succeed, everyone at the company should share in the vision.
The book, Traction: Get a Grip on your Business, discusses in depth the process of how to clarify your vision with your leadership team over several offsite meetings. The VTO helps leaders communicate their vision to their employees clear by simply answering eight questions regarding:
- What are your Core Values?
- What is your Core Focus?
- What is your 10-Year Target?
- What is your Marketing Strategy?
- What is your Three-Year Picture?
- What is your One-Year Plan?
- What are your Quarterly Rocks?
- What are your Issues?
Once you clarify your vision in the VTO, you should share it with the rest of the team to get feedback and further refine it. You and your leadership team have to continually communicate that vision in speeches, rollouts, and meetings to get buy-in from everyone.
Core Values are “a timeless set of guiding principles that define your culture and the behaviors you expect from each other. They help you determine who fits your culture and who doesn’t, and they help you attract like-minded people to your team.”This definition is from the E-book, 20+ EOS® Terms Your Employees Need To Know.
Your Core Values are the three to seven guiding principles for who you are as an organization that helps shape company culture. They are embodied by the top performers and best in your organization, and it’s up to you and your leadership team to rediscover those values and write them down. These Core Values will act as a filter for your company by attracting people that fit them and weeding out those who don’t fit. The values will guide you and your employees on how to make significant and difficult decisions in your company.
Over a dedicated meeting, you can discover your Core Values with your leadership team. Your team will list the qualities of people who are high achieving and embody the organization. That list of values will get narrowed down to three to seven values. Once you and your leadership team have discovered the Core Values, you need to document and communicate them to your people such that they become part of the company culture.
The Core Focus “defines what you are as a company to help you avoid “shiny stuff” and keep you focused on the areas where your business excels. It comes from the intersection of knowing “Why” your company exists and “What” you do in the world.”This definition is from the E-book, 20+ EOS® Terms Your Employees Need To Know.
The Core Focus describes the purpose of your organization that is also commonly known as the “mission statement,” “vision statement,” or “core business.” Defining your Core Focus will prevent you from self-sabotage, provide excitement, and help clarify your vision. It will help you not get distracted from the “shiny stuff” including your competitors, new ideas, new products, or irrelevant or lousy advice.
Why does your organization exist?
The first part of the Core Focus is the purpose, cause, or passion of your organization or why it exists that is not industry-specific. It needs to be a three to seven-word phrase that is simple, bold, and heartfelt.
What is your organization’s niche?
The second part is what specific niche of the business and the particular product or service that you provide to your customers. The niche needs to be simple and will help you make decisions about your product or services.
The 10-Year Target is “a long-range, energizing goal for the organization, ranging from five years to twenty years out.”This definition is from the E-book, 20+ EOS® Terms Your Employees Need To Know.
Where do you want to be a decade from now? Using your Core Values and Core Focus, you can work with your leadership team to further clarify your vision by establishing the big-picture goal for where your organization will be 10 years from now. The most successful leaders and organizations have a habit of setting and achieving goals, especially in the long-term.
These long-term goals should be specific, measurable, and energizing to help steer the direction of your business and frame the shorter time-based goals of three-years, one-year, and quarters. These goals, also known as BHAGS (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals), should seem so challenging that it may almost seem unachievable. BHAGs communicate passion, enthusiasm, and energy to everyone in the organization, such that your people feel like they are making an impact and contributing to a legacy.
It may take a few meetings with your leadership team to establish specific, measurable 10-Year Target goals. However, when those long-term objectives are set, they are not permanent and will need to evolve over time. Periodically, your leadership team will reevaluate the 10-Year Target if you are close to achieving it and readjust as necessary.
The Marketing Strategy defines “your ideal customer and the most appealing message to attract them to your business. It should provide a laser-like focus for your sales and marketing efforts.”This definition is from the E-book, 20+ EOS® Terms Your Employees Need To Know.
The Marketing Strategy helps you differentiate your company and stand out to your ideal customer. It will provide your people clarity for “who your ideal customer is, what you do for them, and how you will do it.” The strategy will help you sell more products and services as it will be the underlying theme in all your messaging outside the company, including information materials, emails, and advertising. The Marketing Strategy consists of four parts, which include your target market, three unique differentiators, your proven process, and your guarantee.
Your Target Market
Your Target Market is the ideal customer base that you will sell your products and services to. Their qualities include their demographic characteristics (who they are), geographic characteristics (where they are), and their psychological characteristics (what they are). When you can distill down to your target market, you can create a list of prospects for your sales and marketing team to target.
Your Three Uniques
Your Three Uniques are the three specific differentiators that make you stand out from the other businesses in your niche or industry. It is the specific value that you provide your customers as no other competitors provide those same three characteristics. When you establish Your Three Uniques, they will provide focus and prevent your company from being involved in other industries, providing too many products or services, or trying to do it all.
Your Proven Process
Your Proven Process is the consistent way you deliver your products or services to your customers. You do it the same way every time and produce the same result. The process should be visually captured in three to seven steps to help your sales and marketing team communicate the product or service to the customer. The Proven Process will increase customer confidence and help you differentiate you from your competitors.
Your Guarantee communicates to your customers on your willingness and reliability to deliver your product or service to the customer. The guarantee allows your company the opportunity to solve an industry-wide problem for the customer. Internally, it will encourage you to improve your internal processes and focus your people toward delivering results for the customer. Externally, your guarantee will put your customer’s minds at ease, increase their confidence in your ability to deliver, and close more sales as a result.
Short Time-Based Goals
We have to take action to make our visions a reality. From our vision, you can describe the 10-Year Target or big-picture goal for where your business will be going a decade from now. Next, the 10-Year Target will help you describe the Three-Year Picture to help your employees buy into your vision for the shorter term. Then, the Three-Year Picture will help you outline the One-Year Plan with the goals that your business will accomplish for that year. Lastly, the One-Year Plan will help you establish Quarterly Rocks or the 90-day priorities that will help you keep gain traction toward the long-term goals.
“What your company will look like, feel like, and be like in three years. The 3-Year Picture creates a powerful image of the future and helps everyone work towards the same vision.”This definition is from the E-book, 20+ EOS® Terms Your Employees Need To Know.
You should schedule time with your leadership team to first formulate the 3-Year Picture, which is documented within 10 to 20 bullet points. This longer-term goal will help your employees decide if they can buy into the vision and decide if they want to be part of it.
“Defines your objectives for the year by identifying and crystallizing your revenue target, profit target, and measurables, along with your top three to seven goals for the year.”This definition is from the E-book, 20+ EOS® Terms Your Employees Need To Know.
Next, the 3-Year Picture will help your leadership team create your company’s One-Year Plan consisting of three to seven priorities. These will both be updated annually to reflect the objectives of the company.
These are 90-day priorities that will help your people keep moving toward the long-term time-based goals set by the leadership.
Every Quarter, the company should establish Quarterly Rocks or priorities based on the One-Year Plan to gain traction. Within the company, everyone and everything should have rocks, including you, your leadership team, and all of your employees. Rocks are limited to three to seven (1-3 for employees), because, in the short-term, you should focus more intensely on the most important priorities.
All of these goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely), such that they help you clarify your vision and set the right expectations for work. Your leadership team will discuss and debate the following metrics in order to set objectives for how fast you want your company to grow and how much impact you will have:
- Future Date: The due date for your company to complete this goal.
- Revenue: Amount of income generated by the sale of goods or services.
- Profit: Income remaining after the expenses are deducted from the revenue.
- Measurables: These figures indicate the scope and size of the organization. Examples include the number of clients served, large clients served, goods sold, services rendered, or goods produced.
The issues are the list of problems that will prevent you from reaching your goals.
Every organization has issues, and the sooner you and the leadership team acknowledge this fact, the faster you can solve them. Understanding your issues will help you clarify your vision and be a lot better off. In turn, the success of your organization is proportional to your people’s ability to solve them.
The VTO includes an Issues List to document and organize company-wide issues. To foster transparency, you have to promote an environment in which problems are discussed openly and flow up to leadership.