A Compelling Vision Isn’t Quite Enough

July 27, 2016

2016-07-18.jpgHow good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! -Psalm 133:1

As Christian business leaders, we understand that in all our endeavors, unity and alignment matter. In work, as in life and ministry, unity is vital for long-term team development, success, and fruitfulness. Accordingly, we put time and effort into carefully-crafted mission statements and well-articulated core values. We “write the vision down and make it plain” in the employee handbook, display our values on the walls, and train new hires in the shared language of our corporate culture.

With each member inspired by and committed to the “why,” organizational unity, cross-functional cooperation, and high company-wide performance should be the inevitable outcome. Why, then, are our teams still challenged to execute with excellence? Why don’t individuals operate in concert as one team? The short answer: because they aren’t aligned on the “how.” They aren’t working from the same operational playbook.

The shared processes, metrics, methods, and decisions comprise the “how” of your business. When it comes to these daily dynamics, does your company have a well-coordinated overall plan in place? To the person, does your entire team know, understand, and implement these operating principles? Are they productively conveyed to new hires?

When unity breaks down, the root cause is most often not the lack of a compelling vision, but rather the absence of an organization-wide operational platform. In large and diverse teams, good people can and will disagree on the best means to the same stated end. Competing perceptions, motivations, and priorities often put departments at cross-purposes. Increased specialization can lead to compartmental “silos” working to optimize performance in one area at the expense of another. Dysfunction persists when compensation and incentive plans inadvertently reward incongruent outcomes.


What’s the solution?

Practically speaking, you position our team to cultivate unity when you support your compelling corporate vision with well-conceived operating plan.  

An effective, organization-wide operating plan:

  • Defines roles and responsibilities
  • Clarifies cross-functional relationships
  • Delineates daily and monthly activities
  • Provides updated quarterly forecasts
  • Spells out goals and objectives for customer service and operating performance
  • Answers the question: “What does excellence look like?” for every role, at every level

Shared vision, purpose, and core values are essential, but don’t provide all that is required to cultivate unity and alignment. An organization-wide operating plan equips your team to execute daily operations with seamless integration. Imagine the possibilities of a truly unified and synchronized team. More importantly, in a prevailing business culture that celebrates individuality and one-upmanship, consider how pursuing healthy organizational unity reflects the character and will of God. From this perspective, an effective operating plan is a key component of a Kingdom stewardship model.

How is your team doing in the areas of unity and alignment? If you need to initiate or reinvigorate a culture of unity, jump-start the process with our Operating Culture Ebook!