Do you remember why you started your business? What is the purpose of your company? Maybe a more important question is, do your employees know this purpose? Are they included and made part of this corporate vision or are they just a means to an end? It’s been said that without vision people perish.
Apple Knows About Vision
This Forbes article describes Rod Campbell when he first looked for a programming job back in the late 1970’s. He interviewed with Tandy and Commodore (wow, remember them?) and he asked executives at each company what their visions for the personal computer were. Tandy said that PCs could be a hit at Christmas. Commodore thought the PC could help their stock price. Is it any wonder that these companies are dead? Then he met with Steve Jobs and was blown away. Jobs had a corporate vision of personal computers changing lives, changing the world and he impressed his vision on his employees. In his TedTalk, product designer Tony Fadell discussed his time working for Apple. He said that Jobs challenged his designers to come to work every day and see Apple’s products through the eyes of their customers as if they were holding and experiencing the product for the very first time. That’s why Apple was the very first electronics company to ship its product, the iPod, already charged. A customer excited to buy a new device doesn’t want to come home, open the box and see that it must be charged before use. Jobs kept the corporate vision in front of his employees. What about you? And is your corporate vision one that employees want to buy into?
Our vision is to help companies get their dream back by providing a proven way to reduce payroll costs with the best integrated time tracking, scheduling, and employee management system. That simple. And it’s a vision that the entire team at Chronotek gets excited about because we love small businesses. Labor is the number one expense of service-based businesses and there are ways to reduce the costs with good business practices.
Get 20/20 Vision Again
Take some time to really think about the very first question. Do you remember why you started your business? Many days may have passed since then and if you’ve been down into the trenches it’s easy to lose sight of the “why”. We’ve written about vision before. It’s important. This article gives some ideas that may jumpstart your rediscovery process. Maybe your “why” is different now. Figure out what it is and define it. In the beginning maybe it was just to make as much money as possible and that seems hollow now. It’s not enough to get excited about as you roll out of bed each day. But if you have a commercial cleaning company maybe you’ve heard from your customers how much they enjoy the healthy and clean workspaces your company provides for them. That feedback instills a sense of pride. It’s a great corporate vision – to create the healthiest and cleanest work environments in your city. It’s a vision that benefits your customers, and their employees, and will most likely result in your original monetary goals.
Once you regain the “why”, it should be the compass that directs the course of your business. This corporate vision dictates all decisions and is the fodder for all goal-setting. Steve Jobs’ vision was to change lives with the personal computer. To do so he knew it had to be simple for people to use. He said, “It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions.” Apple’s first marketing brochure proclaimed in 1977, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Simplicity was behind every decision because simplicity was necessary to make the PC a life-changing tool. It’s why Apple’s designers had to constantly see through their customer’s eyes. Fadell goes on to talk about creating the Nest thermostat and his goal to make it so simple for customers to install that they wouldn’t need outside help to do so. The first iteration had 3 screws, but customer feedback wasn’t positive. Despite demands of his investors to press on and sell more products, Fadell and his team slowed down to design their own custom screw so that Nest shipped with only one screw instead of 3. He told his investors that he would sell more thermostats and make more money if he got this one thing right. And he did. We get that commitment to customer-centered simplicity in spite of the time and costs. Our customers have been ultra-patient awaiting the release of our new UI. Jobs said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” We couldn’t agree more and it has been our hyper-focused vision on simple, instead of a quicker release motivated by profits, that has driven us. Our endgame vision is for our customers and future customers to be the big winners, to move the mountains with an employee and labor management system designed for their success. So, start with your vision as the guide and begin creating goals that are in alignment. These new goals lead to action steps that make you look forward to getting out of bed each morning.
Find ways to communicate your corporate vision and goals often with your employees. Your managers will be crucial in this process. According to an article in Gallup.com, “The culture you want can only be implemented by your best managers. A great culture is one of the few things an organization can’t buy. Managers will make or break your culture change, for good or ill.” Your superhuman solo efforts will not paint that beautiful vision you’ve created. You need the buy-in and participation of your employees top down. Bill Belichick, the head coach for the New England Patriots, has a mantra, “Do your job” and most experts, current and former Patriots players will confirm that this ideal is the secret sauce behind 6 Super Bowl championships. You breathe this vision as a Patriot or you aren’t one for very long. Create a short, pithy version of your company vision statement and put it everywhere for your employees to see. Don’t allow them to escape from who and what your company is all about and how they are making valuable contributions to this cause. We believe that you can’t have a great company without great employees.
Create a culture and infrastructure that holds everyone accountable to the company vision. If you own a security guard company and your worthy vision is to create safe, pleasant and secure environments for your customers, their employees and their customers, then have a system to make sure this vision happens. A beginning point is the assurance that your guards show up. A retail store manager may feel less than safe when he opens the store and your guard is nowhere to be found. Our timekeeping and employee management system can partner with your vision to send you no-show alerts of these events. Our late reports will also reflect which employees struggle to be on time – this is a good indicator that they might not be on track with the company vision. Ultimately your vision fails if your company isn’t profitable; and you will constantly fight lower profits if you use handwritten timesheets to track employee hours. A remote employee clock in, clock out system provides the oversight and accountability that can deliver 4-6% or greater savings on payroll costs. It’s the most practical first step to ensure the long term viability of your worthy company vision.
Get started. In this Inc. article the author describes a study in which it was shown that 90% of organizations fail to execute their strategies successfully. It’s interesting to note that 90% of new startups will fail. Is there a correlation? Maybe. But most companies just don’t know how to implement their plans. Perhaps it’s a lack of understanding in how to get started, but there is great power in getting started even if you baby-step it. Micro-progress gets the wheels turning towards a great company vision.
We are here, ready to help. When you have crystallized your corporate vision we’ll give you a boost with a free 30 day trial on our mobile time clock system.
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