Clearly, that’s a question that can be taken more than one way. If the headline brought to mind the vehicle that gets you to work, around town, and on family vacations, that’s a reasonable way to think about the question. But I actually meant it quite differently.
Rather, what is the agenda that you are pushing forward every day? What key difference are you trying to make in your job, be it at the executive level or elsewhere in the organization? Do you start your day with a mission that you are trying to advance or are you just trying to complete tasks that, while necessary, serve no larger purpose? Do you have a vision for your company or your department that provides a framework upon which you decide which items are worthy of your time and which are not?
People (and therefore companies) who approach their roles with a vision of what they are trying to accomplish have a framework for making decisions. That is not to say that the vision won’t change (in fact, it should be reviewed when facts come to light which would suggest it is not the best approach). Nor is it to say you won’t have days just keeping the train on the tracks (we all have days like that despite our best efforts to be forward thinking).
But having a vision allows you to not only set your own course but it provides a vehicle to communicate how others should approach their roles as well. Not only do you have a vision and framework for approaching your work but that vision can be shared with those around you. When those around you are making decisions, they can then apply that same framework and determine to what extent their actions are consistent with the longer term goals. If they find that they are operating in a manner that they believe to be inconsistent with that vision, they can raise their hand and have a discussion about those actions and determine if there is something different they could be doing that is more consistent with the longer term direction.
Unless you are trying to drive something and invoke change, then your destiny will ultimately be controlled by people and circumstances around you rather than by yourself. That is almost always less than ideal.
If you find yourself or your company in this situation, then it is time for a change. Take the initiative and stake out a vision. Putting that first stake in the ground doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out process but it does require some focused energy and thinking. I recently sketched out a 2014 vision for the finance and accounting group of one of my clients. After having solicited input from some key constituents, I spent an hour with the team and a blank sheet of paper on an easel. By the end of that hour, we had thoughts around eight key initiatives that we could use to transform the department and positively impact the business over the coming year.
Are we finished? No. We will have to decide upon specific actions and work over the next year in order to make significant progress. But we have charted a course and are on our way.
If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you. Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to For more information, visit www.homza.com
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