In 2017, in partnership with expert researchers and academic colleagues, I surveyed ten thousand business founders and CEOs. I asked them to choose from a list of 23 traits what the most important traits were. The results were definitive and somewhat surprising—of these traits, “vision” was the only one selected by a majority (61 percent) of the respondents. Maintaining vision through clarity is a critical first step to creating a great culture and a great business.
It’s tempting to get distracted by the immediate circumstances surrounding a business. Financial strains, employee relations, a widespread health crisis, and an uncertain future for a company all impact immediate business decisions. Regardless of these changing circumstances, your company’s vision of who you are and where you’re headed should always remain unwaveringly clear. That vision is the foundation of your company’s culture.
In fact, your team members are 23 percent more likely to develop loyalty and stay on board if they feel their role and purpose are clearly explained. You need clarity. This is especially important as more companies move to remote work environments.
Clarity is crucial to avoiding any misguided rumors, siloed teams, or general misunderstandings that can bog down work quality and employee satisfaction. Setting expectations for the company as a whole and repeatedly offering support, strategies, and tools to meet those expectations are all part of establishing company clarity. At Simplus, we use three strategies to maintain clarity: a company playbook, regular company-wide meetings, and frequent repetition of clear directives.
The “Company Playbook” should be the foundation of an effective organization. It’s a high-level and frequently updated one-page summary of the company’s vision, values, methods, and measurements. It should be simple and clear. Marc Benioff’s overview of V2MOMs—a tool for business alignment and explaining who must do what—explains how every individual V2MOM in the organization is derived from the overall company playbook. The playbook should answer six key questions for each employee about the organization:
- Why do we exist?
- What do we do?
- How do we behave?
- How will we succeed?
- Who must do what so we will succeed? (V2MOMs answer this on a more specific individual level)
- What’s most important right now?
Companies who can’t answer these questions quickly and definitively have a culture problem. At Simplus, we review the company playbook every chance we get. I will often pause on each question and call out employees to answer them in meetings. The effective use of this playbook has helped keep our company aligned and united on the big picture.
Some parts of your playbook will rarely—if ever—change, such as why your company exists, the company’s purpose and functions, and company values. Other items will be updated from time to time as priorities change and…
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