I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
It is almost impossible to pick up a newspaper or turn on a newscast without hearing the daunting news of how bad the economy is doing. On a daily basis we are inundated with information about the falling stock market or rising unemployment. With all of this bad news, it is easy to forget that as a nation we still have more people employed than unemployed, which makes it more important than ever to employees engaged in the long-term business development process by sharing the company's vision for future growth and success.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Whether or not the current economic situation has hurt your company, it's very likely that most employees have been affected, or at least knows a family member, friend or neighbor who has been affected by the economy. When this anxiety makes its way into the workplace, small problems become large and minor issues can divide departments. However, when the long-term vision of the company is at the forefront of employees’ minds, and they understand how they fit into that vision, it creates a sense of well-needed stability. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Casting the vision and engaging employees may sound easy, but it's actually very difficult, which is why so many great business leaders fail to do it effectively. Building a unified environment in the workplace that fosters teamwork and big picture thinking at all levels requires an investment of time, effort, commitment and planning. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>1. Planning.</b> Imparting the long-term vision of any company does not happen haphazardly. Business leaders must map out a plan that would allow senior and middle managers to deliver a consistent message about the direction of the company. As the message is delivered from the top down, it should become more applicable to the each department, while aligning the goals of that department with the company's overall vision. The process of vision sharing should be purposeful with outcomes that are measurable and results that are tangible.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>2. Commitment.</b> Engaging employees in the long-term business development process is not an annual event. To be successful in the effort to build a cohesive organization equipped to work together towards commonly understood goals requires a company wide commitment to transparency. Transparency allows for the timely dissemination information and makes room for two way communication between employees and managers. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>3. Effort.</b> Never take for granted that a manager, supervisor or team leader is equipped to impart the vision or foster employee moral. The ability to accomplish these goals is a learned skill that requires effort to achieve. Companies that are serious about delivering a unified message throughout the organization should be mentoring and training future leaders to hone their management skills and to equip them to be effective in their leadership.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>4. Time. </b>It's unfortunate that business leaders often think about the internal stability of their company when things are amiss. Whether the economy is causing fear, recent organizational changes are wreaking havoc—or perhaps the rumor mill is out of control. Whatever the challenge, improving the performance of the organization is a deliberate process that is certain to take time. Performance improvement is not an easy task; however, it has been proven to be extremely beneficial to the long term strength and stability of an organization. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Effectively sharing the vision of the company and helping employees buy into that vision brings a sense of unity that helps growing companies soar, and struggling companies persevere. Is your company positioned to reap the benefits of sharing the long-term vision? <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <i>S&MM online columnist Joyce Harper is the Founder/CEO of Sharper Solutions, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in organizational development and strategic management. She works with companies nationwide helping them create organizational effectiveness and increase their revenue building potential. Joyce is a sought after speaker, trainer and business consultant. Contact her through the company website at <a href="http://www.sharpersol.com" target="_blank">www.sharpersol.com</a>.</i>