Whenever I travel to a foreign country, I always have a plan of attack. I do my research. Online resources, travel guides, conversations with friends, ratings, and reviews all help confirm the best sites, affordable lodging, popular restaurants, and preferred times of the year to travel. They help build a framework for how I will map out my visit and spend the money I have carefully saved. Maybe it is the German in me, but I don’t want to waste valuable time once I’m in a new place trying to figure out what to see and do, or be disappointed that we can’t get into a particular venue because tickets are unavailable. Many of you probably operate the same way. You want to maximize your time and investment.
Why is it that when it comes to things that carry far more weight, like running a business or an organization, we often fail to make the time to plan? We don’t maximize our investment. We get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent. We react. We continue to do things like we’ve always done them before. We get lazy and content with the status quo. We don’t force ourselves to think about the future. If we don’t make time to develop a strategic plan—we may lose our ability to compete.
Since I have been at DISHER, I have witnessed firsthand what it looks like to not only put together a strategic vision map but actually use it. Many companies have a mission statement and their values recorded somewhere, but few are actually used or referenced. Quite often they are tucked away in an owner’s desk drawer, neatly filed in the company history, or buried on the website. On the other hand, high-performing companies live out their mission and values daily. They understand the way they are different in the marketplace: what they provide, how they operate, where they are going, and who they serve. They take time to measure results and be held accountable. High-performing companies build a strategic framework for their team to daily follow. They have a map that shows where they are headed.
What is Strategic Vision Mapping™?
Strategic Vision Mapping is a visual process that incorporates business strategy, product portfolio planning, and marketing direction at a high-level. It is relevant for every person within an organization who wants to make a difference within their company culture, with their customers, and community. Strategic vision maps enable organizations to define their vision/mission, develop action plans on how to get there, and identify any gaps in their strategy to help drive performance, productivity, and profits.
DISHER’s Strategic Vision Mapping process.
Benefits to a Vision Map
As noted earlier, many companies have a detailed strategic plan. It may look like a 100-page book of single-space type and excel spreadsheets. This plan might be reviewed once a year at best. However, nobody engages with it on a day-to-day basis. It is not referenced; it is forgotten. A strategic vision map is as the name implies—it is visual. You can hang it up in your lobby, your breakroom, or your conference space. Team members have an attractive reminder to keep them focused on the mission and direction of the company. Here are some other benefits of vision maps.
+ Remind teams of the WHY/purpose
+ Unify teams
+ Head in a clear direction
+ Make confident decisions
+ Be proactive
+ Increase operational efficiency
+ Increase profitability/market share
Dayna Beal, one of DISHER’s lead facilitator’s and strategists, works with Tim Ullrey on a customer’s Strategic Vision Map.
Getting your team together for a vision-mapping workshop might sound like a monumental task but it will make a long-term impact. Prior to the workshop, there is some homework to be done by your team such as a customized assessment survey. In addition, any vision/mission/values assets you currently have are gathered and organized. The actual workshops typically run from a half-day to a two-day process depending on the needs of the organization. The sessions are led by seasoned facilitators, and then graphic designers and copywriters help with the finished product. Company team members are guided through a step-by-step development process for their own unique strategic vision map. Beginning with the challenge of articulating WHY their organization exists, organization stakeholders work through a series of questions in an interactive way.
+ Why do we exist?
+ In what way are we different?
+ What do we do?
+ WHO are the customers WE serve?
+ WHO are the consumers THEY serve?
+ WHERE are consumers going?
At the conclusion of the workshop, all of the agreed-upon assets are gathered, organized, and communicated in a customized, graphically-engaging way for the organization to use.
Get Your Plan Together
“If you don’t know where you are going, you are certain to end up somewhere else.” – Yogi Berra
If you are an owner or leader at your organization, consider taking your strategic plan to a visual and more practical level. Rally your troops around the same vision, mission, and values. Articulate what makes you different in the marketplace. What do you do best? Who do you serve and where are they going? Develop a plan for your future and keep your team engaged in the process. If you are interested in scheduling a strategic vision mapping session with DISHER, let us know. We have come alongside numerous organizations, both large and small, to help them be all they can be.