It's Not You, It's Your Corporate Vision – Forbes

Do your employees share the same company vision as you do?
Does your company’s vision serve as a compass for employees’ daily decision-making? Does it communicate how future success will be achieved? When leadership follows a clear vision, it provides the entire organization with focus, coherence and direction. Yet only 22% of American employees think their leaders demonstrate a clear vision for the company, according to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace study.
As a CEO and author, I’ve studied complexity and tracked how quickly it can spread into every corner of an organization. It seeps through companies large and small in the seemingly harmless form of reporting structures, approval layers and new policies or procedures. Eventually, the layers-upon-layers of red tape will suffocate even the purest of corporate visions.
To determine whether your vision has been compromised by complexity, explore the following Q&A focused on the vision and messaging area of your business. Any size organization can use it, from start-ups to multinational corporations, but it should be completed by at least one person in a leadership role. From there, you and your teams will discuss the results and decide on solutions.
Start by answering the following six statements with either “Consistently,” “Sometimes,” “Rarely” or “Never.” Answer individually and be radically honest in your assessments.
1. Employees understand the vision and values of our business.
2. I believe the messaging from leadership is clear and authentic.
3. Messaging I receive from managers is consistent with messaging from senior leadership.
4. Simplification is expected and discussed in our organization.
5. I view simplicity as a core operating principle of our company.
6. I encourage my team to operate with simplification in mind.
To tally points, use this scorecard for each answer: 
·     “Consistently” = 0
·     “Sometimes” = 1 point 
·     “Rarely” = 2 points
·     “Never” = 3 points
If you calculated 1 – 6 points, your vision comes with a complicated angle or two. Overall messaging from leadership might be coherent and consistent, but at least one “Rarely” or “Never” answer is affecting your communication strategy or channels. 
If your sum is 7 – 12 points, your vision shows symptoms of complexity. Messaging that should swiftly travel from the C-suite to managers is delayed or convoluted before it reaches its intended audience. If left unchecked, the red tape will choke your vision — and the rest of your company. 
If you scored 13 – 17 points, complexity is steering your vision. Employees and leaders speak in acronyms, which slows dialogue and hinders onboarding. It’s likely that most of the company is operating under the influence of complexity, which perpetuates a cycle of busywork without value and meetings without meaning.
Finally, if you tallied a sum of 18, your company vision has devolved into a massive Gordian knot of complexity. Buzzwords and corporate-ese have replaced meaningful messaging and teams rarely emerge from their silos. When communication across business units does happen, it’s hostile and uncooperative — with leadership being the worst offenders.
Now, reveal the diagnosis and six statements to your teams and ask them to generate theories on why complexity has eclipsed the company’s vision — along with their ideas for simplifying. Then schedule a remote meeting to discuss both reasons and solutions, which should be captured on a virtual whiteboard.
After discussing the viability of everyone’s solutions, vote on which to implement immediately — and do it immediately. Examples of solutions might include “eliminate jargon and acronyms from leadership communication” or “remove legal from the approval process for internal messaging” and “meet with front-line managers ahead of company announcements to share talking points.” To encourage accountability, publicly assign tasks related to each solution to people or teams along with delivery dates.
Simplifying can be harder for leaders than others in the organization, but because leadership sets the culture, it’s even more crucial. When complexity is no longer blurring the company vision, jargon-free conversations and efficient decision-making will become the norm. Communication and messaging will happen in real-time across the organization, from the C-suite to the front line. And when teams are all aligned on common goals, your company’s path forward every day is clear.

I’m obsessed with simplification as a work and life hack. As founder and CEO of FutureThink in NYC, I’ve helped people at Google, Novartis and Accenture kill complexity

I’m obsessed with simplification as a work and life hack. As founder and CEO of FutureThink in NYC, I’ve helped people at Google, Novartis and Accenture kill complexity and create space for innovation. When I’m not delivering a keynote or TedX talk somewhere in the world, I’m writing books (Kill the Company and Why Simple Wins) or reading them. I’m a board adviser for the Association of Professional Futurists, council member of the World Economic Forum and a carpooling mom of two. I’ve taught innovation and creativity at both American and Fordham Universities, and the North Pole is on my bucket list because it’s where every time zone converges.

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