Buying Into the Vision

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Posted At: June 28, 2013 5:20 p.m.
by Claudia Calhoun

Vision. It takes on many different definitions, but for a company, the definition is simple: It is why we do what we do. It can be a long, eloquent statement or a few words, but the “why” behind it is the same. Vision gives employees direction and purpose. It gives them a reason for each meeting attended, press release written and speech given. But, vision is nothing but words on a page unless employees buy into it.

As I sat in a small room with 25 other students Sunday night, Joe Calamusa, director of the University of Alabama Sales Program, gave a brief speech (that seemed more like a passionate sermon) about vision. More specifically, he explained how we each played a role in the Sales Program’s vision. Those of us in the room have  bought into this simple vision: We exist to make people happy. Our vision is not a long, drawn out paragraph. It is direct, to the point and, in essence, what every company should strive for.

While I listened to many students share their experiences from the previous year of working with the program, I realized that buying into a company’s vision is usually expressed in one major way — by living it. When employees understand the company vision, they put forth their greatest effort to achieve, or even exceed,  the objectives and goals set before them.

For example, Calamusa told a story about one of the Sales Program coordinators who lugged bags full of water bottles across campus to a focus group because the pizza place had forgotten to send them with the order. This particular coordinator manages a large staff of students and oversees a $150,000 budget just for outreach, yet she knew that bottled water would make these students happy. That is what a buy-in is all about: It’s going above and beyond the call to see out the vision.

Is that story small in comparison to others? Maybe, but it does prove a point. Never forget to be humble and remember that everyone plays a vital role in the company vision. From the front line employee to the CEO, it takes every member of an organization to reach a goal, especially when that goal is making people happy.

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