Inspire your people with a vision (what we want to achieve) or mission (what we are here to do). Targets may motivate but rarely produce the zest and determination that brings about extraordinary performance.
Make your mission powerful. Inspirational visions may be about revolution (shaking up the monoliths in your industry) or doing something worthwhile (making people's dreams come true).
Make the vision bold. Great visions can be impossible to achieve: 'Within an arm's reach of desire' (Coca-Cola); 'A computer on every desk and in every home' (Microsoft). Better resonant and bold than realistic.
Use your vision/mission as a touchstone. If an option or decision doesn't help the vision, don't follow it.
Be single-minded.Your vision should not be up for debate. This will demonstrate determination and passion and provide a clear focus to rally disparate employees.
Give each team its own mission consistent with the company aim but a lot more specific - eg, 'removing waste so we can invest in the future' or 'helping our customers feel good about their decisions'.
Involve colleagues in developing the vision. Make sure they raise their sights above 'being number one in our chosen markets'. Instead, ask: 'Will this mission make me keen to jump out of bed on a rainy Monday morning in two years' time?'
Create a tale about your business' future. Imagining what clients, competitors, graduates and gurus will be thinking about you in five years will help the vision come to life. Include criticisms to give credibility.
Make sure your vision makes sound business sense rather than the result of excessive away-day exuberance before you go public. A vision is a communication tool, not a strategic management quick-fix.