Many people start a business and develop a plan to market and sell their product and service. But if that is all they have, in my opinion, there is a key ingredient missing. Your need vision if your business is to survive and thrive. And you also need values. They should make it perfectly clear what type of company you are. Surprisingly, many businesses cannot say why they are in business nor can they articulate their basic business foundation and founding principles. Why you are running the business is more important than how you run it. If you find that statement hard to believe then read on.
Any successful business needs to have vision—that is what the business will look like when it is successful. Your vision is your dream and as Walt Disney said, you must have a dream if you want to have a dream to come true. Of perhaps greater importance are your values. These are your ideals you live by. These are your non-negotiables. If you know why you are in business, if you have a vision, and you have values you may then build your marketing plan and you will know how to make the right decisions. If your vision and values are clear to your staff, then then they too will make the right decisions.
A good leader leads by making the organization’s vision known to the entire team. But it is the leader’s commitment to values and living the values that makes the greatest impact.
I just read a news story about restaurants and the State Liquor Authority in New Jersey. They have targeted several restaurants and a large restaurant company in the state for substituting cheap liquor in to top brand bottles. An official from the restaurant company reacted with shock that this had happened in his company.
Here is how it might have happened. If you do not make crystal clear your values and ethics to your team but only hold them accountable for results some may feel justified in taking short cuts.
Your vision and especially your values should be out front and everywhere. I know a bank that has a great reputation with the community and its customers. That is saying something considering what has happened in banking the last few years. I went into their offices and do you know what I saw? Everywhere I looked I saw their core beliefs in their documents, their posters and even engraved on the glass separating the offices. Although they are highly profitable is it also any surprise that they are held in high regard. Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s had core beliefs that could be recited by every executive down to every crew member in each restaurant. “Do the Right Thing” was just one of Dave’s sayings.
Here is where leadership comes in. A great leader shares the vision and the values and the goals and objectives. He holds the team accountable for results. But his team knows that in deciding on the right action they must always “Do the Right Thing.”
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