I think the hardest part of business is vision. Anyone can have a dream. That is easy. In business you are required to have a vision to accomplish your dream. It is the “how, what, when, and who” that is important. Otherwise how could the “who” in the equation know “when” to help accomplish the “what” within the dream? What makes this so hard are all the variables. What will the economy be like in 5 years? Will our best product still be relevant? Will our customer base still look the same? It is hard to project what will happen tomorrow so how can I know what 2017 will look like?
Next, throw in the timing. When is the right time to make a move? Should we hire now before the expected volume increase or after we know we have it in hand? What about when to come out with new products? Not to mention which products to come out with. Do you wait until ALL your ducks are in a row before you release them? Do you test them in sample markets? Will your competitors catch up with you if you don't pull it off flawlessly? This is starting to sound like fortune telling. What about price increases? Sometimes we get them in the middle of the year. Economic climates change and the value of the US dollar decreases. In a moment your cost is raised. Steel supply is down while demand is up in the market, in a moment, our price changes. What do we do now? Keep in mind we have communicated a price to our customers. Do you just lose money? Do you make the tough call and pass on the cost increase? Timing can be everything.
Vision takes a certain amount of risk and can sometimes be a shot in the dark. However, we as people have to know where we are going in order to get there. We need a benchmark, a goal, a common objective, a temporary finish line to get a team working together. Otherwise you get employees who just come to work for that day. They don't see the difference they make in the company THEY are running. This causes problems. Can we make adjustments to the vision as we learn more, as the economic status of 2014 is revealed, when we have facts about our product lines? Yes. Of course there can and should be adjustments. If you are not making adjustments you are either really lucky or really stubborn. This doesn't make your original vision less important. It was just a step to get you closer to executing your dream. Think moving target.
As the young guys grab a hold of the reins to Logo Chair we are seeing the importance of vision. Often in the past we have had “it” (vision) but we have not communicated it to everyone else. This is like the head coach calling in a play to the quarterback and trying to execute the play without telling the players where to be and with their understanding of “WHY” they need to be there... It is a lot easier to block if you know why you are blocking. We don't want employees. We want teammates.
Now we (“the boys”) are asking where do we want to be in 5 years? How are we going to get there? Who do we need to join our team? What products need to be added to our mix? However, our core values and core competencies are not changing. We are who we are; the question is where are we going? This takes vision.
The question you are asking right now is, “well what is your vision?” I can’t tell you everything for obvious reasons. However what I can tell you is we are learning that unless you spend time focusing on where you want to go, you might end up going somewhere you don’t want to be… We are also learning we have to tell our people what we see. What products we are going after. What markets we think we can sell. How they can make a difference and help us get to where we want to go. Our vision includes a sale number, a thicker catalog, more retail placement, new licenses, but more importantly the brand Logo Chair becoming a household name because the end customers love what they are buying. We can’t do this without vision and the right people helping us get there.