A good vision statement is a sentence or short paragraph consisting of two to four sentences or a number of bullet points. McDonald's has a very precise vision statement:
"McDonald's vision is to be the world's best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile."
But don't be deceived by the apparent simplicity of that statement. Developing a good vision statement is based on a lot of preliminary hard thinking. Here's the basic process.
1. Make separate lists of the following things that might suggest ideas for the vision statement:
Products/services: what you do and how well you do it
Technology: in some businesses creative use of technology forms the core mechanism of reaching their vision
Employees: good employees are vital to achieving business goals and many vision statements include a reference to the value the business places on respecting their team
Customers: customer focus and customer service are absolutely pivotal to achieving business success so they always get mentioned in a vision statement
Your values and philosophy
Your vision: how you see the business in the future
2. Pick out the most important points.
3. Obtain input from other people:
A vision can be a highly personal thing and in some businesses the personal view of the owner becomes the vision. But for employee buy-in purposes brainstorming with them can work best. It can then draw on the imagination and intuition of many people, providing they all share similar interests in the organisation and have sufficient knowledge to project it into the future. Keep the ideas realistic - a vision statement must be achievable as well as inspirational.
4. List some positive words:
Words of aspiration and inspiration for your statement.
You now have the raw material for writing up your vision statement.
Select your most important words and combine them into one sentence or develop a number of sentences and put them into one short paragraph.
There are no hard and fast rules about creating a vision statement, either as to exactly what they should contain or how they should be developed. What is basic to the process is to take your time so as to be very clear just what the things are that the business does aspire to and to phrase the result in a positive and inspirational manner.
One good paragraph can describe a wide range of things - your values, services and what the business will look like. It is the pursuit of this image of success, what success will look like, that really motivates people to work together.
Don't think the process stops with having developed the statement. Its real purpose is to enthuse employees and keep them on track. Even if they have been part of the development process there is an ongoing need to remind them of what the vision is. There is a personal responsibility as well. To be truly successful your visionary attitudes (such as providing superior customer service) have to be reflected and communicated in what YOU do and way YOU do it.
It may seem like stating the obvious, but a business that has a vision of where it wants to go is much more likely to get there than one that does not.