Contagious Vision

We’re OK – we have a vision!?!
(Somewhere on the bulletin board – or maybe in the company’s business plan).
In fact we even have long term and short term plans with action points!

You think you’re OK – or could you do better?

Can your vision be contagious? Can it not only inspire your team (your staff), but also make your customers feel good? What about your suppliers? The banks you deal with? Your insurance providers, tax consultants and other stakeholders?

What makes a vision contagious?

An infectious disease is most easily transmitted when it is alive and active in the host.

1. It’s infectious

True vision is infectious.

The words that come to mind are –

  • Transmittable
  • Catching
  • Communicable
  • Contractible

Think about it for a minute –

What does it take for your vision to be transmitted?

2. It comes from within

It isn’t forced or phony.

Just posting the vision up in the lunch room, or titling your letterhead (although they are good things to do) won’t change people’s attitudes. A good vision comes from the heart, it is tied to the real passions and desires of those in leadership.

When your values in life – your heartfelt desires for your business line up with your vision and purpose the ‘infection’ cannot help but spread.

There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart. Pursue these.&rdquo

Michael Nolan

Just mouthing the words, going through the motions, will sooner or later be seen as hypocrisy – and we Aussies are good at ridiculing hypocrisy!

TIP: Ask some of your team members what the vision is sometime. The results might surprise you. Listen to their answers - the exact words are not essential, it’s the heart of the vision that matters.

3. It goes beyond your 4 walls

Something that is contagious tends to spread, even to places you didn’t expect. In your business when you set in place a heartfelt vision you may be surprised at the response.

At Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ Conventions over the years we see the enthusiasm of staff and franchisees to new initiatives driving the vision forward, but you would expect that! After all this is what conventions are all about – motivation, excitement and celebration.

What we also found was the unforced almost emotional response from our suppliers, bank representatives, insurance companies and other stakeholders. People who had not experienced contagious, heartfelt vision and purpose before.

Customers actually notice it and respond in kind.

I received a reminder note the other day for my water filter to be serviced. From a previous experience with the company I was reluctant to ring and book this in. When I finally did, the whole tenor of their service had changed. A new owner maybe? Certainly a new vision for their company! The receptionist couldn’t be more passionate about their product & the service they would provide (at less than the cost of doing it myself I might add!). My attitude has definitely been swayed – if the tradesman lives up to the vision already set, I will be totally won over.

Again at Gloria Jean’s Coffees the ‘customer connection’ is vital to each franchisee’s business. In a coffee shop half the equation is good well made coffee, the other half is a ‘welcome home’ feeling. The intangible warm and friendly atmosphere where people feel comfortable and relaxed. This in itself is an expression of our vision and values - when guests feel genuinely welcomed they become devoted fans, there day after day.

The fallout from genuine vision will benefit your business – developing goodwill and positive attitudes in places you didn’t actually expect.

How do I make my vision contagious?

It starts with you.

Get your thinking right on the inside

  • Make sure your vision is something you feel genuinely passionate about.
  • Feed your mind with things that are positive, not depressive.
  • Get encouragement from others doing the journey in business or leadership.
  • Don’t neglect your spirit – don’t overlook the real purposes in life, whatever faith you profess.

People are changed, not by coercion or intimidation, but by example.
People buy into the leader before they buy into the leader’s vision. If you want to lead, you must sell yourself.”

John C. Maxwell

Peter Irvine
Peter is Co-Founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees, author of "Win In Business", speaker and business consultant.

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