Continuing on from the first series of Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, let’s review how habit no. 2 can relate to more conscious business practices.
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND
The role of a business leader is to define the brand and set the expectation of how that brand is to be known by customers, partners and employees; further, to communicate the expectation of how any stakeholder should remember the brand in the long run. If the company vision isn’t a part of this definition, it should be. Covey challenges us to think about what we want to be when we ‘grow up.’ If you have yet to do this, professionally, whether it’s setting your company vision or your goal in contributing to it, take a moment to do so.
All staff, in any role on the team, should be able to summarize the business in less than 30 seconds, inclusive of the company vision. If you aren’t in a position to determine the company vision, and you aren’t able to articulate it, seek out leadership and ask the question. Better yet, ask that it be more broadly communicated to all staff.
For any individual and any team to realize full potential, all involved should know the greater company vision. Once known, it must be reinforced until everyone on staff embraces that vision and understands their role in working toward reflecting that vision, daily, and through every business interaction. However, this is where anyone can falter.
To successfully work toward any vision, specific goals and objectives must also be set. Each action you take should look to accomplishing a goal that correlates to the ‘big’ vision. Take Covey’s second habit principle and apply it to every work project, from small to large. Envision the final product or the impact of a single project, and approach each task toward completing it in a way that will lead to that desired product or impact. If you are spending time during your day on any task that isn’t in some way directly aligned back to your short-term goal and long-term vision, ask yourself if your attention to that task is really required — or at least reprioritize the task.
When managing others, it is important to lead with purpose. Others around you in the business environment gain a greater sense of value when they understand that their contributions relate to a clear goal. To do so, the purpose of the business must be known and everyone contributing to that effort must understand his or her role. Working collectively toward a single, common vision will result in more productive days and ultimately, greater success for any organization.
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