In a recent business meeting, I asked a CEO: “Could you briefly tell us your vision for the future?”. The reaction was astonishing. The leader, unable to communicate his vision, expressed his discontent with the fact that this question had not been agreed on the agenda beforehand. He had not prepared any slides to help answer this question…
A shocking response, yet, not uncommon. Too often, companies hire or promote industry experts, but do not consider whether these leaders are able to cast and communicate vision and inspire teams, stakeholders and customers to follow.
Every CEO, whatever her or his business, must be able not only to answer the question, “What is your vision?”, but to do so with conviction and, one would hope, with passion.
Companies of all sizes rely on cross-departmental performance. From the front desk to procurement, finance, business development to quality control – whatever the business set-up – each area has to deliver.
Yet, the best functioning department is rendered useless if the leadership fails to inspire and communicate the way forward. Vision fuels teams. Vision fuels success. Without vision brands suffer. Without it, even the best communications experts will struggle to create the marketing and PR plans needed to drive customer engagement and sales.
At the same time, communicators worth their salt will demonstrate tenacity and expertise in helping senior leaders shape and express a vision which not only creates buy-in, but inspires teams to think big, go the extra mile and drive business performance.
‘Without vision the people perish.’
If your company lacks vision, start at the top.