Corporate vision has an importance that cannot be overemphasized. This is because during tough economic times businesses sometimes lose sight of long-term goals in order to satisfy short-term needs. Yet it is specifically during these tough times that a direct and focused corporate leadership will need to draw on the business vision established in the early stages of its development to carry it through these hardships. The strategic vision established during the development of the company can often provide the necessary way through and focus on long-term goals even when short-term measures need to be considered.
When revenue starts to fall and sales are curtailed by economic forces outside of the business’s control, one of the first knee-jerk reactions is to provide alternative revenue sources as a way to meet short-term goals. Unfortunately, these “reinventions” can often prove to be damaging to a brand’s long-term reputation in a number of ways. Businesses that seek to increase revenue by passing costs on to the consumer unnecessarily should be prepared for consumer backlash. This backlash could cause even further revenue cycle reductions. Any new revenue channels developed during economic downturns should still be evaluated and rigorously put through an evaluative process with the business vision as the cornerstone of comparison. A reinvention of a company’s core products, services, or values should never be made in haste or under pressure to solely increase sales. If this is the case you may want to rethink any reinvention during these times.
A Solid Foundation
Any corporation that wants to survive economic downturns needs to have a solid foundation that incorporates a strong vision. This vision, when developed, should have focused on medium to long-term goals and values that represent the core beliefs of the executive leadership or owners. It is this solid foundation that can provide a consistent litmus test in times when every decision becomes a struggle. Any attempt to “correct” or change the vision of the company during these times should be categorically denied. Short-term economic problems should be dealt with through short-term corrective measures that work within the parameters of the core vision statement. If your company is one built on the development of excellent people, then any cost-cutting measures that attempt to cut top performers or other strategic hiring initiatives should be recognized as a poor decision. In the same way that a company that builds its reputation on quality products should not at this point search out inexpensive suppliers to cut costs that may result in lower quality products and harm the long-term goals and core beliefs of the company.
The business vision provides a roadmap to the future of any corporation including the many dips and spikes in sales along the way. Large multinational and successful corporations such as 3M, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM have maintained their dominance by relying on the strength of their vision to lead them through these tough economic times that every business will face. In order to find the way through short economic downturns, the long-term vision should always be at the center of the short-term corrective decisions to position your company in the most favorable way when the economy turns around.