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Visionistics: Grasp Goals, Feel Out the Future (Part 1)

Getting managers, associates aligned with your company vision

SAN FRANCISCO — The focus of my recent DreamCatcher story was on the structure CEOs used for training their managers to manage themselves and their teams so owners have their own time to “dream the dream.” Now in this installment, the focus will be on the reality of implementation of the management system, whichever system you choose to adopt.

One or two mission/vision meetings is just the beginning of the process of getting your managers and associates aligned with your vision for the company. More frequently than not, this topic is dropped after the statement is adopted and so it has very little impact on the business.

To get buy-in and alignment throughout the organization, your vision must be alive on a daily basis.

Your vision needs to be incorporated in the day-to-day operations of the company. It also needs to be clear and concise enough that it can act as a mantra for the running of the business.

Nike’s mission statement: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” accomplishes this alignment goal by guiding the company and its associates in their daily activities.

Their slogan “Just do it!” brings that mission alive to athletes and would-be athletes around the world, both through the words and through their logo swoosh, which is one of the most recognized logos on the planet.

Pinterest also inspires action with the mission to “Help people discover things they love and inspire them to go do those things in real life.”

Airbnb’s mission is to enable people to “Belong anywhere.”

The alignment of purpose indicated by these statements leads to focused goals to get the job accomplished.

Much has been written about the value of goal-setting and what can be accomplished by the focus that specific goals provide.

Muhammad Ali once said: “What keeps me going is goals.”

Stephen R. Covey, author and speaker, advised people to: “Begin with the end in mind.”

Julius Erving believes that: “Goals determine what you’re going to be.”

If the goal is aligned with the mission, the action steps can be designed to meet the goals and accomplish the mission. There are many resources available to help in designing the specific goal set.


Since most businesses face similar challenges dealing with people (internally and externally), resource allocation, time constraints, competition, operations, logistics, financial control, sales and profit growth, leadership development, site selection, etc., there is a great deal of data that can be accessed.

When reviewing the data, be discerning to distinguish between raw data and usable information. Look at benchmarks, best practices of successful operations of all kinds (both inside and outside the industry) rather than benchmarks or averages of your industry alone.

Many new, successful systems and technologies have been developed in various industries that present better, more effective and efficient ways of accomplishing things that have tremendous application in the drycleaning industry.

A good example is customer acquisition through various apps that is just recently being applied to the textile care industry. Avoid assuming it won’t work and instead take the easy solution of testing many approaches to determine the most effective applications for your business.

If you are creative, you may invent a totally new system that will let you leapfrog to a previously unknown level of performance.

An excellent source of ongoing information about current and potential success is provided by industry roundtables, association education programs, and peer management groups (often referred to in this industry as “cost groups”). These groups can align the reality with theory.

The candor that is shared between a group of non-competing companies can provide a great deal of information and detail about specific successes and how they were achieved. The same applies to failed attempts that did not reach the desired result.

Group sharing can prevent wasted time and resources-testing every idea because someone else may have done it first and that person is willing and able to share the pros and cons of a specific approach to a common problem or goal.

These groups exist for a spectrum of team members from company owners to managers and front line production and sales staff. They can help align the goals of owners and their teams and provide a shared business language to aid in communicating ideas.

If you haven’t had an encounter with peer groups, sample them to experience the benefits firsthand. They have been the source of business training and internship exchanges as well as lifelong business camaraderie and personal friendships.

Peer groups counterbalance the isolation felt by most owners and help build management and leadership skills among participants at all levels.

Exposure to business practices (again, both inside and outside the industry) is invaluable to moving the knowledge base and appreciation for possibilities forward.

Once you believe what is possible, set a stretch goal to move your performance from the current level to that goal and then go for it. As hockey legend Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].