In this in-depth and inspiring talk, Keela Robison, Founder and CEO PM Loop, unpacks what vision is, why it matters and how to find it. Crucially, she demonstrates how to communicate and reinforce vision to your team by sharing an incredible 30 practical strategies for meaningfully tying your vision to all that you do. Spoiler alert: it’s not in a quarterly PowerPoint presentation.
Purpose Driven People
Vision comprises your Values, Purpose and Envisioned Future. Aspiring product leaders take note: knowing your vision gives you the tools you need to inspire your team by telling the story of your product and why it matters in the world. Your best employees – the ones who are committed, high performing, autonomous and who are stewards of your brand – will be purpose driven. They understand where you are going and why you matter. In short, they are inspired and guided by your vision.
Lost in Translation
Things move fast in tech and this can undermine efforts to embed company vision. Short employee tenure, team growth, mergers and acquisitions, remote working, lean and agile – all of these can spread your culture thin and make it hard to ensure that your team understands why you’re doing what you’re doing. You will need a wide range of strategies to engage – and re-engage – your team in your vision.
What Really Matters?
The first step in defining your vision is to determine the values which drive your choices. What matters to your brand so much that you would hold onto it no matter what? With examples from Amazon and Volkswagen, Keela illustrates the concept of values which are synonymous with your brand, consistent over time and resistant to market change.
Why Are We Here?
Your purpose tells you why you matter in the world. What impact do you make and what gap would be left behind if you shut down? Talk to your customers and ask them why they use your product. And don’t just ask it once – keep asking, keep peeling back the layers of their rationale and the motivations in their lives until you find out what really matters to them, and why your product has a purpose for them. For some companies, identifying and talking about purpose is easy, for others it can be much harder. Keela explains that the strongest purposes are closely tied to human needs and demonstrates how, through some thoughtful questioning, every company can identify their deeper purpose.
Strong vision requires an envisioned future which is audacious, future thinking and customer focussed. Your envisioned future will see many great products come to market. But for now, put down your product, forget your features and instead think about how people will feel and behave in the future because of your brand. And if you’re thinking about the future anyway, you may as well think big – Keela shares inspiring examples from Tesla and Kindle.
Tell your story, then tell it again.
Keela concludes by giving wide ranging examples of how to communicate and reinforce your vision to your employees. From artwork in your office space, to celebrating wins, to writing mock commercials, she shines a light on how to bring your vision alive, to everyone, every day. Your employees really do matter – ultimately your people are your product. Great vision will be inclusive of the whole team, determine their goals, guide their priorities and behaviours, and enable you to build products that people love.