Monday morning. Rocky’s theme song is punching me in the face, snatching me away from a sweet dream’s gentle embrace. I open my eyes and stare at the ceiling – the same ceiling I’d spent an hour staring at before I fell asleep last night.
Nothing’s changed. Not the ceiling, and not my life. “This Monday is going to be the same as the one before, and the one before that,” I think to myself. I don’t want to get up. Is there even a point?
As I grapple with existential dread, nihilistic thoughts are flooding in like water inside the hull of a sinking ship. My positive outlook on life is slowly descending into an ontological abyss.
On my way to work, I meet plenty of people who share my current disposition. Same grim expressions and tired looks. We’re rowing in different directions, but we’re on the same boat.
I get into the office and it feels like I’m entering a cage (the bars on the windows strengthen the comparison). The only thing that’s going to keep me awake for the next 8 hours is a mug full of coffee and the idea that when the day is over, I’ll be a day closer to the weekend. “This cannot go on for much longer”. I begin to plot my escape. A glimmer of hope appears in the horizon.
I had tried walking the freelance path once before and I’d failed. It was time to start again. I know it will be risky, but I realize the bigger risk is not trying. What good is financial security if I can’t find a reason to get out of bed? So I hand in my resignation and begin my freelance journey anew.
Millions of people feel trapped in jobs they hate.
Millions of employees feel the way I did before I quit my job. There are many reasons for it, but the one I’ll focus on in this article is the lack of clear brand vision from the top.
When people go to work only for the sake of a paycheck, their level of job satisfaction is practically non-existent. They don’t feel like they’re going anywhere or doing anything important.
With a few exceptions, money doesn’t solve the problem. Unless their paycheck is enough to afford them a comfortable lifestyle where most of their wants and all their needs are met, they won’t feel fulfilled.
This lack of fulfillment creates resentment. People start looking for alternatives. The moment they find something better, they’re gone. And sometimes they leave even if they don’t have anything lined up. That’s what I did.
Leaving the trap of corporate life has given me perspective. I’ve learned a lot since I set out on my own. As I’ve said before, there’s nothing wrong with working for someone else. However, in its most common configuration, it’s not for me.
Yet it’s the life many people choose. They feel comfortable, but they feel like something’s missing. I want to help them. And I want to help business owners build better, more strategic brands people can be proud to be a part of.
If you’re a business owner, you want to take this seriously. People who find satisfaction in their work and feel like their work matters give a lot more than those who are only looking to get paid. And it all starts with a vision.
Why brand vision matters to your employees?
Your brand vision is the destination you want to reach with your business. If employees don’t know where you’re going, they won’t buy into the journey.
This doesn’t seem like such a big deal on the surface. If you’re paying them, they’ll do what you tell them. Except, this is a strategic oversight. You can’t buy commitment. People will help you realize your vision only if you make them a part of it. Otherwise, you’ll have a workforce in it for the paycheck.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this. We all work for money. But you can’t buy passion. You can’t buy loyalty, either. The moment someone else comes along and offers your top people better pay and better benefits, they’re out. Unless you give them a reason to stick around, you lose them for sure.
Sometimes people are willing to work long and hard to make someone else’s vision come true. However, this doesn’t happen if they don’t understand the vision. Or if it doesn’t resonate with their own values.
If you want to boost your employees’ level of job satisfaction and loyalty, then a clearly communicated brand vision is the place to start. This will give them a greater sense of purpose. It will empower them to make a difference in the world and allow them to become a part of something greater than themselves without losing themselves in the process.
Not everyone has a vision. That’s why so many people stick with the ones who do. When you manage to communicate your brand vision well, people will begin to rally under the cause. They will commit to making it a reality. But you have to be convincing.
How to communicate your vision effectively.
Communicating your vision internally may come with a handful of delicious benefits, but you need to present it first. Otherwise you’ll be giving your employees a job they’ll be working as long as they get paid, and no one will commit to your vision but you. This is not how great companies are run.
Be clear with yourself.
The first thing you need to do before you can relay your vision to someone else is to be clear about it with yourself. Do you know why got into business? Do you know what you’re trying to achieve? How do you want to change the world?
If you can’t answer these questions in your own mind, you stand a snowball’s chance in hell to communicate the answers to someone else. So make sure you’re clear about why you got into business in the first place.
In case you’re only in it for the money, you will surround yourself with people who’re only looking to get paid. Your business will never be anything more than OK. If it even makes it. Be clear and be honest.
Craft a compelling vision statement.
Coming up with a vision statement is not an exercise in wordsmithing. It’s a strategic move designed to clarify the business’ destination and to inspire people into reaching it.
The vision statement distills the essence of your business into one or two sentences. You need to make it clear, concise, bold, and distinctive. Your brand vision has the power to change the world, so don’t underestimate it.
Hire people who share your vision.
Especially if you’re a small business, you need to hire people that share your vision. Under the flag of this common vision, you’ll have a unified team fighting for the same purpose. People won’t be there simply to get their paycheck (though adequate pay goes without saying). They’ll give their blood, sweat, and tears to make your vision come true, because it will be their vision, too.
Align vision and values.
Values are not statements you plaster on the wall in the break room. They embody the way your company does things. In a sense, values are actions.
You need to align those actions with your vision. For example, if your vision is to provide the best customer support in your industry, then your values should revolve around great customer support. If they don’t, then you’re not practicing what you preach. People will smell it like a rotten dumpster from a mile away. And they’ll turn the other way.
Embody your vision.
As the founder, you need to embody your visions and values. Nothing communicates a brand vision better than being the change you want to see in the world.
It’s your responsibility to lead people, inspire them, and set up the standards. You should be more critical of yourself than anyone else. If something in your company doesn’t work, you need to take ownership and fix it.
This same standard extends to management once the organization starts growing. No one likes the principle of “do as I say, not as I do.”
Create a culture around the vision.
If you’ve done everything above, then you should be well on your way to creating a culture around your vision. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. This is how you build a stable organization with a strong moral compass.
People love to work for this type of company. And the best part is – you don’t need a lot of resources to make it happen. All you need is a clear vision, communication skills, and a bit of hard work.
Now go out there and build.
Communicating your brand vision to your employees is a simple task, but that doesn’t make it easy. You need clarity, strength of character and lots of hard work to make it happen. But when you do, you create something everyone is proud to be a part of. In the end, isn’t that why you got into business?
Till next time.