The success of any organization rises and falls on its leadership. It is critical individuals and teams do all they can to maximize strengths, build-up weaknesses and identify blind-spots. Leaders need to invest in the right priorities while keeping those priorities in the correct order. When that happens leaders can maximize their long-term impact.
The Prioritized Leader framework includes the “Five P’s”, with each having a certain form of currency:
- Purpose: The vision to see, articulate and strive for a compelling future. The currency is integrity and inspiration.
- People: The level of health and productivity we have with our colleagues and connections. The currency is encouragement and accountability.
- Pace: Discerning how fast or slow the organization needs to move to sustain long-term success, capitalize on opportunities and preserve capital. The currency is time and energy.
- Perception: Choosing a growth mindset, staying open to creative solutions and new ideas. The currency is insight and innovation.
- Profit: The effective management, investment and release of an organization’s resources. The currency is dollars and cents.
Purpose: the top priority
Purpose is the critical starting point for defining an organization’s culture and stating its vision and values. A vision informs the team where they are going while values establish who they are as a team. The vision is the “why” behind the idea. The owner or founder may have the service or product they want to sell, but when pressed, a compelling vision is vital to get through difficult times.
Along with vision, the values of an organization must be communicated often so they are actual, instead of just aspirational. Most companies create their values and plaster them on the office walls or their website, yet they never talk about them again. However, great companies bring their values into their organization daily. Values need to take root early in a company to build it on a strong foundation. Values will allow leaders and companies to be strong through difficult times.
Why talk about vision and values together?
Successful businesses need to invest in both vision statements and values in order to be great. When businesses only invest in their vision, they will crumble under pressure. Companies that only focus on their values will never truly get off the ground. Let’s look at what could happen if you don’t focus equally on your vision and values.
High vision and low values (unlimited harm)
These companies have an extremely high vision for their organization, yet low values. This can result in unlimited harm. Companies in this quadrant will do anything, even break the law, in order to carry out their vision. Goldman Sachs was a catalyst in the 2008 recession by having the intelligence to package subprime mortgage loans for others to purchase, even though they knew they would fail.
When an organization has a compelling vision, yet lacks healthy values, it will do whatever is necessary to attain profits. Without investment in character and values, unlimited harm often awaits.
Low vision and low values (no good)
These companies are probably out of business, or currently going out of business. They don’t have enough vision to get the company off the ground, and even if they could, they lack the needed values to make a positive contribution. They do no good.
High values and low vision (limited good)
Companies in this quadrant have extremely high values, but a low vision. These companies do limited good. This is the local coffee shop, dry cleaner or restaurant that knows their customer’s names, treats their employees well, and usually is owned by good. However, they don’t have the vision or competency to scale the business. These leaders need to develop their business acumen and need to ask, “Do I need a partner that can provide financial help?” or “Do I need a visionary to help navigate the next steps?”
High vision and high values (unlimited good)
These are the great companies. These leaders have surrounded themselves with a team that can effectively and efficiently scale while having the character foundation to build a business ethically. These companies can do unlimited good. These companies include Chick-fil-A, Apple, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Costco to name a few. These organizations have fanatical customers, high values and a focused vision.
What would it be like if your organization had a compelling vision and strong values? Are you positioning your company for longevity and growth? If you need help in working through these questions, The Vantage Group can help.