Who Are You? Where You Are Going & The Vision Thing
This is a follow-up to the article about the key values that you need to consider in regard to your customers. There are three things which customers value most, in my experience, that I elaborated in the first article of this topic. Beyond that, you will need to decide on your own list of values, because only you know the reason that you got into the gym ownership business in the first place.
Likewise, only you can decide on the vision for your organization. The vision statement of your organization sets out the direction and your ultimate goal. This needs to be integrated with your values and compliment them, as any conflicting concepts will undermine the point of all of this.
Build On Your Values With A Strong Vision Statement
You’ll need to draw on your values to inform your vision. This will help you to determine the goals and objectives to achieve along the way. Once you know your objectives you can then decide on a strategy to get to the objectives. That in turn has implication about how you set policy and put it all into practice. Then you can use your gym management software system to monitor how well you’re doing and to adjust your course to proceed efficiently and effectively, which defines your mission.
Having metrics and the system to report and monitor your progress is essential to success because a map is worthless if you can’t figure out where you are on it, relative to your goals. A vision statement is a notice of intent that acts as a marker on your map; it’s the direction and destination that you ultimately wish to arrive at. It should be a little grand and challenging. After all, this business is about stretching and growing as a person.
Put Some Pep In Your Vision Statement
You want your vision statement to grab attention and not sound like waffle. Here are some basic dos-and-dont’s in list form:
– Make it graphic, after all it’s a statement of your "vision"
– Give it a sense of direction
– Get to the point with a focus
– Make it believable
– It has to be explainable and easy to communicate
– Don’t be vague
– Don’t fail to be forward looking
– If it’s too broad it won’t have a focus, be believable or easy to communicate
– Try not to be so bland that nobody cares about it
– Avoid using too many superlatives. Saying that you "aim to build excellence through awesomeness" will get nothing but eye rolls from anyone who hears it
But How Is This Different From A Mission Statement?
A vision statement should justify your strategy and, at the same time, it should explain why you are doing what you’re doing now and what it means when your actions seem to be at odds with what you’re presently doing. It’s easier to get your team and membership to by in and accept your choices when they can see that you have an ulterior motive. A mission statement should state your present activities and who is to be served now.
Amazon.com states that they "… seek to be Earth’s most customer-centric company…" That’s a pretty good choice of words. It speaks about intent and what they want to be in an ideal world. It’s clear about who their customers are as groups, without being too vague, wordy or flamboyant.
A reasonably good example in the fitness world is Aeon Fitness and Gymnastics, who communicate their mission and vision under the heading of Philosophy. They use their vision statement to emphasize how they want to ultimately be perceived by their customers, whereas their mission statement expresses what they are doing now and for whom.
Bring It Back To Values
Values need to be consistent with your vision, obviously. But it’s values that are at the top of this hierarchy. There’s no point of mapping out a direction that isn’t going to appeal to the values that you believe in. It works the other way as well. You can inspire your team to accept your values to a greater degree if they have a feeling that they know where the business is going.
So ask yourself this: What do you think you want your business to achieve before you retire or sell? That’s an important question and the answer should be apparent in your vision statement.
Thompson, Strickland & Gamble. (2010), Crafting and Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage, 17th Ed. McGraw-Hill Irwin, New York NY
Amazon.com Vision statement http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=97664&p=irol-faq#14296
Aeon Fitness and Gymnastics http://www.aeonfitgym.com/about/philosophy
Over to you…
Where do you think you want your business to achieve before you retire or sell?