Developing a Team Vision Statement

That Inspires Commitment and Performance


In terms of engaging your people, developing a team vision statement hits hard on the first element of the 4Bs of high-performance: Believing. It also informs the other three Bs (Belonging, Behaving, Bottom-Line). 

Because if people don't Believe in where you are going, what you are here to do, then you've got little chance of keeping them engaged and inspired for the long-term and delivering the results your business desires. Need more convincing of that - check out this article/research from Gallup?

4bs of High Performance

When you get the 'what' we are here for right (Believing), you'll create the inspiration and the desire for the 'hows' (Belonging, Behaving and Bottom-Line).

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When you get the 'what' we are here for right (Believing), you'll create the inspiration and the desire for the 'hows' (Belonging, Behaving and Bottom-Line).

A strong team vision statement will influence the right sort of people to join and stay in your company.

Which company would you rather work for?


To become the best truly global consumer products company


We are a caring, innovative growth company that is reimagining a healthier future for all people, their pets and our planet.

Interestingly both those Vision Statements come from Colgate-Palmolive.

Vision One was the statement Colgate was using when I worked there some 20+ years ago. It's not a particularly galvanizing statement - in fact they are just a bunch of informational words. The saving grace was how strongly the values were applied within the company, which made it a delightful place to work.

Their new vision statement is much more compelling and drives better behaviors. Are Colgate achieving their new vision? Not yet. But this vision supplies intent, purpose and worthiness to what they do. And it has set them on a pathway to cleaning up their act where they haven't had a great impact on the planet, people or pets.

Hugely successful organization's such as Apple, Zappos, Netflix, Virgin, Southwest Airlines, and Google all have compelling visions - (that they apply rigorously). Their visions galvanize the entire organization and compel people to take inspired action, so they deliver remarkable results.

At its simplest level, a vision statement answers the question: “What do we want to create?”

Keep this in mind when developing a team vision statement:

The purpose of your vision statement is to stretch boundaries and comfort zones.

To enable people within the organization to have a sense of what could be.

Back in the 1980's Microsoft's vision of "A computer in every home running Microsoft software" may have seemed absurd to most people. In fact, it was likely there were people within Microsoft trying to water this vision down. Yet, this rallying cry drove Microsoft's success.

Your vision statement drives

behaviors, creativity, commitment, engagement, and determination.

If your vision statement opens people's eyes to what is possible and inspires them to work toward achieving it, then it has served its purpose well.

Hot Tip

You, the leader,

must constantly, and energetically

remind and rally people to the vision.

Too frequently, I see wonderful vision statements, that leaders have spent numerous hours crafting ... sit on sideboards fading away into insignificance. 

High-performance leaders are masters at using their vision statement, each and every day, to inspire their people to move toward what the organization has said is their ultimate goal.  

If you aren't using your vision statement frequently in your interactions with others, you are missing a golden opportunity to engage your people.

Vision without action is a daydream.

Action without vision is a nightmare

(Japanese proverb)

The Elements Of A Good Vision Statement

Keep this list handy as you are developing your team vision statement. Check that each element gets a tick:

  • Sets a standard of excellence
  • Clarifies direction and purpose
  • Inspires enthusiasm and commitment
  • Bridges the present and future
  • Is clear and easy to understand
  • Is ambitious (not limited by current circumstances or what is perceived to be possible)

The Steps in Developing A Team Vision Statement:

  • 1
    Make it big enough that there will always be passion and energy as you grow toward it
  • 2
    Word it, so it serves as an energy source and rallying point for the organization
  • 3
    Imagine it is 10 years out, and Forbes Magazine is interviewing you. What have you achieved? What difference have you made? What are you proud of?
  • 4
    Write it in the present tense
  • 5
    Make it emotive - you want to stir passion
  • 6
    Summarize the Vision Statement into a powerful phrase, that people can easily grasp: for example, NASA's "Put a man on the moon by the end of the decade" was the central focus for thousands of people, who worked in that organization. Each one of them knew that no matter what role they fulfilled they were part of the team putting a man on the moon.

When you are developing a team vision statement, you are always dealing with the future. You are describing the destination towards which you are aiming.

You are not setting out how you are going to arrive - that comes later as you develop your Mission Statement.

Examples of Vision Statements:


We are on the face of the earth to make great products, and that’s not changing. We don't settle for anything less than excellence


Create a place for people to find happiness and knowledge

Southwest Airlines

To connect people to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel


(old) Produce a car that everyone can afford

Girl Scouts

Help a girl reach her highest potential

Cirque du Soleil

Invoke the Imagination; Provoke the Senses; Evoke the Emotions


THE online service leader

Your vision statement is never static. It's dynamic and designed to set free an organization's energy.

The most powerful vision statements energize people throughout the organization. It gives them a cause to rally behind, feel engaged by, and see that what they are doing is worthy.

For example, you could create a vision statement that says

Frozen Food that tastes as good as Mom's 

Short and sharp. It's a good vision statement. To get people to rally behind it they need to understand why this is important. So while you may have that short eight-word sentence as your rallying call - sitting behind it will be an extended description which will include an intent statement like:

"Achieving this vision means that we provide wholesome, nutritious food to families, and children in particular. It means that we will be able to enhance the health of our customers and thus raise the quality of life of our community."

Communicating The Vision - The Leaders Role

It is the role of the leader to be the direction setter and spokesperson for the Vision Statement and breathe life into the Vision. Let's take a look at a story that illustrates this principle:

There were three people laying bricks

The first is asked, "What are you doing?" ... "Laying these darn bricks"

The second is asked, "What are you doing?" ... "Feeding my family"

The third is asked, "What are you doing?" ... "I'm part of the team building a cathedral so that people can come and worship to their God and feel at peace after a long week of work"

The third bricklayer is energized by a vision that transforms, the actual task work being done, into an achievement that is far greater than he alone could attain.

How to Bring a Vision to Life

The vision is more than just words on paper. Never simply draft the vision statement and post it in books, wall hangings or on coffee mugs ... that won't create the culture or the passion that you want.

You must use your vision and mission statements as you make decisions each day.

For example,

Decisions on who you are going to recruit into your team. 

If the people you hire don't Believe in the vision of the organization, you'll have to work that much harder to get and keep them engaged. So use your Vision and Mission statements as backdrops to your interview questions and other selection activities.

Decisions on how you allocate resources and time. 

You and your people must continuously ask - (whether in meetings or working solo), "By spending our time or dollars on this ..(insert whatever).. will it move us toward or away from our vision."

Nurturing the culture of the business and providing direction is THE most important role of the leader. Communicating the vision is something that the leader must live and breath.

Use metaphors, stories, and examples to continually connect people to the bigger vision of why they are doing what they are doing. In the training Managing The People Side of Change In The Workplace, I describe in detail how to weave stories with your people, so that they are inspired to move toward the vision.

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