Over the past couple of years, I’ve frequently written about the importance of adequately preparing advisory firm employees to be great employees. The foundation of our “preparation” is a three-part process in which we teach each new employee about the “Vision Statement,” “the Core Purpose,” and the “Core Values” of their new firm. The most important of these three is the Vision Statement.
Owner-advisors often confuse a “vision statement” with a “mission statement.” A mission statement is simply a description of what a firm is going to do for their clients, which we cover in our “Core Purpose (along with why a firm provides the services it does). In contrast, a company vision statement is a reflection of a company’s overall goal. Vision statements have the potential to be very powerful communications to both owners and employees.
A good vision statement paints a clear picture for the future of the business, which creates a sense of shared purpose, a desire for achievement, and builds a team commitment to reaching that vision. And vision statements can change from time to time—when the old goals have been reached or the firm takes a new direction—where its “core purpose” and “core values” typically reflect the way that vision will be accomplished in the most productive way, which rarely changes.
Here’s an example of how an effective vision statement would read:
“Within the next X year(s), we strive to grow (Company Name), a financial services company, by producing $ in gross annual revenue by providing (Description of Products and Services), to (Description of Target Client), utilizing Y Certified Financial Planners® and Z support staff.”
Note how specific the vision statement is, particularly the goals. This is very important. It clearly establishes in the mind of every employee and firm owner exactly what they are all working together to achieve: the amount of revenue growth, within a stated timeframe.