If I had to pick one differentiator that propels entrepreneurs and their businesses forward instead of keeping them stuck in the muck and mire of just what comes with running a business, that would definitely be creating a visionary company culture.
I have studied and watched successful entrepreneurs for years and one of the common things that I’ve seen across the board is that those who “made it” are the ones who’ve created a culture that is future thinking, instead of one that is reactionary and only dealing with what’s right under their nose.
Keep in mind that when I say company, it can mean just you and your spouse or you and your two contractors, or you and a small team of 5 to 10 people and that’s okay.
Because a culture starts with you alone.
A Visionary Company Culture vs One That Operates in the Day-To-Day
A visionary company culture means creating a clear and compelling vision for the future of where you’re going. And the reality is that most of us are operating in the “here and now“ because it feels like it’s out of necessity because we’re dealing with the fires that are popping up all around us. But, when you have this long term vision, it serves as a bedrock for everything the company does – from the products/offers you create to the way you treat your team members and interact with your customers, and how you set yourself apart.
The difference between a visionary company culture and one that just operates in the day-to-day is that the emphasis in the visionary culture really lies in the future. Now I know that as busy entrepreneurs, we like to be present and be in the moment, but there’s a difference between being in the moment and being reactive and being in the moment and being proactive, and having that vision into the future so that the decisions you make align with that destination you’re focused on.
In a visionary company culture, the company is always looking ahead, even if that company is made up of just you. When you’re looking forward, you can anticipate changes in your industry, you can anticipate struggles that you might face in your business, you can anticipate your own personal blocks that you might navigate, etc. That self awareness can help you show up as a leader when challenges arise.
Being a future thinker also allows you to innovate and to grow in that forward thinking mindset. And that is really what sets visionary companies apart from the ones that are just going through the motions, and it allows you to create that longevity in your business. So, I want you to shift in identity from being an entrepreneur in the grind to being a visionary, a leader who is running a visionary company and creating a culture that embodies that visionary way of thinking.
When you do that, you start to develop a culture that magnetizes the right people, both in clientele and customers, but also in the people that are going to go on this mission with you. Because if you’re not a visionary thinker, if you’re not a future thinker, if your mind is not in the future, neither will be the minds of your team members. They’re going to be in the “here and now”. But when you have a mission at hand, and you are crystal clear on where you’re going, and you see these people that are coming into your business as people who are pivotal players in that destination, you’re going to attract people who are compelled by that. Then there’s less turnover and more opportunities to have those deep conversations when things aren’t going right.
How to Create a Visionary Culture Within Your Business
When it comes to creating a visionary culture, there’s more to the story than just casting the vision.
A culture only shifts when the leader shifts and lives that culture every day. So as a leader you need to decide “who” you want to be, not “what” you need to do. You need to embody who you need to be in order to get to that vision you are working towards. Then you need to show up to your team in that way, and model it for them. This then allows you to speak openly and honestly of your expectations for them and it allows them to start to safeguard the culture you are building.
So, it starts with that clear and compelling vision for the future. And the next step is the over communication of that vision and the standards that are expected to be met in order to get there. You have to over communicate that vision to your team continually and the expectations and what’s going to be required to get there.
A key piece that a lot of leaders miss is the idea that they then have to clearly show how each team member fits into that vision, how they are a key player in making that mission and vision come to life. And here’s why this is so important: If you leave that part out of the equation, there’s going to be a disconnect for the people within your team therefore, there’s still going to be that piece of them that isn’t fully connected and has “wandering eyes”, seeing what else is out there. But if you do a good enough job as a leader in casting the vision, in setting the standard, and in reminding them why they’re so important to you, they don’t even think to look elsewhere because they’ll be in it with you and their heart will be in it with you. And that changes everything.
Challenges You Might Face in Creating a Visionary Company Culture
If you want success, longevity, staying power, more income, more opportunity, more freedom, it’s going to come and be birthed from this. But like everything in business, this comes with its own set of challenges.
One challenge you might face is getting everybody on board with your vision. Remember that you’re leading them so you have to have the confidence and the courage to be able to say “no” sometimes, but when you have the right team you want their input. You want to know what’s in their hearts, what excites them, and where they see you going as a company. And as a leader it is your responsibility to effectively and continuously (almost to a point where you feel like a broken record) communicate your vision to your team, and make sure that everyone’s aligned. And it’s not something you do once. So, you involve your team in the process of creating the vision and that helps them realize that they are purposeful and a big piece of it. It helps them to feel invested in it and be more likely to support it. But it’s still your role to continuously articulate it.
Another challenge you might face is creating an environment where people feel free to express their ideas without fear of judgment or that they can fail forward, try something new, knowing that it might not work. You want to have a culture that is inviting to your people and celebrates their failures, reminding them that it is okay to fail. You don’t aim for failure or mistake, but you know that they’re going to come and you celebrate them, because that means your people had the courage to try. So you want to create that culture that really supports innovation and creativity, because innovation is directly connected to failure all the time. It’s why so few people innovate is because they’re afraid to fail. So be a company that’s willing to fail.
Another big challenge you might face is in terms of maintaining this visionary culture as your team grows. When your team evolves and gets bigger, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain that same level of closeness, camaraderie and connection. When you’re seeking to overcome this challenge, it’s up to you to hire people who align with your company values and your vision and it’s ingrained in everything you do. That ensures that as your company grows, you’re all working towards the same goal. Also, you still need to find ways to deeply connect personally with your people, to know their lives, to remind them why they’re important to you and why you’re investing in them, so that they know why they’re investing in you.
The Vision Is What’s Going to Get You Through
When you’re truly connected to a vision that matters, something that’s going to make an impact, you’re going to meet the enemy at every big potential breakthrough. It’s going to be hard, you’re going to face challenges. But when you’re rooted in where you’re going, you can overcome those stressors and those struggles. If you don’t know why you do what you do, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you walk through a season of suffering (e.g. your clients are leaving, your marketing is failing, you lose money on a deal, people quit) it will all feel worthless. And if you feel like that, how do you think your team will feel?
So remember, the tough times will come, but the vision is what’s going to get you through it together.
This has been probably the most common struggle of a lot of the leaders and entrepreneurs that I’ve been mentoring over the last two years – how do I get a team to be invested? Because having a team that’s invested can completely change the trajectory of your business, meaning money in the bank and potential for growth within your business and your life. So, because this has been the “battle of our people”, we have pulled together our team and created a program that gives you the resources you need for onboarding and hiring so that when you do it, you’re doing it in a visionary company culture way. These resources will help you to know your people and figure out their sweet spots, their personalities and how to inspire them; but more importantly it will help you figure out how to become the type of leader that attracts the right people who get inspired by the mission – and you can access them at luminaryleadershipco.com/team.
- Access the resources that will help you hire and onboard a team so you can create your own company culture: https://luminaryleadershipco.com/team.
- Connect with me on Instagram!
- Episode 98: Building and Leading a Team that Supports Your Mission with Husband and Wife Business Owners Ryan and Anna Leonard
- Episode 152: My Yearly Review Process to Set Goals For My Most Successful Year Yet!
- Episode 153: From Stressed Entrepreneur to Influential Leaders: What You Need to Know to Lead Well This Year
- Episode 154: How to Intentionally Map Out Seasons of Life and Business
- Episode 162: Unleash Your Entrepreneurial Potential with a Future-Focused Leadership Success Strategy