As the Manager of a 45 person company KHOJinINDIA, communicating my vision has been at times difficult for me. I can see clearly where I want to take the business, but communicating this with everyone on my team is more difficult, especially since we are spread across several offices. In 3+ years, my startup has grown from my living room to a whole floor in a midtown building. I’ve certainly enjoyed success, and the times when the company has grown the fastest have been those when communication lines were strong.
The Importance of a Shared Vision
While the vision is mine, I cannot make it a reality on my own. I need the understanding, buy-in, and the enthusiasm of my team to work together collectively to take the company forward, and everybody’s favourite word, “scale.”
Regardless of company size, a shared vision is needed from the bottom to the top of the organization, both at the team and individual level. If every individual, team, and business unit has a clear concept of how their work helps to contribute to broader goals of the company (revenue or otherwise), it is far more likely that they can work harmoniously to achieve them. I sometimes envision running my company like a conductor leads an orchestra. If I can write a score for each section and show them how to effectively play their part while blending with the others, then truly beautiful music can be made.
At the individual level, your employees should understand how their position is vital to the company’s success. Demonstrating that they are vital, will make them feel valued. Will their creativity help you create new and innovative products? Will their relationship building and closing ability help drive revenue? Showing the importance of each employee’s role and skills helps with engagement and buy-in at the foundational level of your company, its people. At the team level, there should be awareness of how the success of one, impacts the other. In a membership/community-driven business like mine, the care the B2C team takes of our members through support and engagement, directly impacts the success of our B2B team leveraging our members’ expertise for market research. Finally, at the company level, if all the parts of the company are moving in synch with clarity on how one relates to the other, how each support and can collaborate with one another, and with employees feeling integrated, you will have strengthened your company from the inside, out.
Big Vision, Even for a Small Company
My website got its start as an idea that I had in business school and then truly got off the ground with a small team in my living room. It’s far easier to share a vision with a company of fewer than 10 people, as compared to 100, let alone 1000s. When an organization becomes larger, with people spread across various locations, it becomes that much more difficult to disseminate your view(s) as CEO. This is why I advise anyone starting their own company to consciously build your vision into the DNA of your company and share it with each new person that joins your team. If the “vision DNA” is there from the early stages, as you grow the company, your vision will still be visible and accessible, if not directly through you, then through those longer-tenured employees with whom you originally shared your vision.
Ways I'm Trying to Improve How I Communicate
My website is now in that 40-60 person size, split between 29 states in India and three locations, and growing. As I write this, I am actively wondering, “how I am going to successfully share my 2020 vision and goals with this many people?” This is a good problem to have, and believe me when I say that I’m not complaining! Here are some practical steps that I’m thinking about taking to better communicate my vision with my team…