This is the first in a series about developing a Strategic Vision Board for your business.
In this post, I explain why Reputation is such an integral part of planning and running a company, and which questions to ask.
Looking into the future is incredibly important process as a business owner. But it’s often very difficult to visualize abstract concepts like “goals,” “vision,” and “strategy.”
If you are a visual learner and are looking to create a compelling plan for your company’s future, the Strategic Vision Board can help. I developed this version by using the Feng Shui concept of a Magic Square (also known as the Bagua Map).
You can use this framework to define a strategic vision for your business.
This post focuses on the first step of the 9-square process, which is Reputation.
You will learn:
- the Main Concept,
- the corresponding Color,
- a natural Element,
- the Season,
- suggested Essential Oils,
- a Focus Area,
- its Purpose,
- the main Goal,
- some Keywords,
- a Main Question,
- Practical Applications to get you started, and
- some Real-Life Examples.
Square 1: Reputation
We start at the top-center square, Reputation (also called “Fame” and “Status”).
Feng Shui number
The number assigned to this square is: 9
Frankincense, Myrrh, and Clary Sage
(Want ideas on how to use essential oils in your strategic vision board? Watch my free 9-video series)
Awareness of how others see us.
Accept negative feedback as a learning tool.
Happiness, Fulfillment, Honor
What do you want to be famous for?
Community relations, networking opportunities, receiving awards, gaining respect
Ways to build your business Reputation:
- Conduct a Year In Review
- Identify which awards, recognition, and other status symbols you’d like to achieve in the next year
- Ask yourself, “How do I want to gain respect?”
- Evaluate your Company Culture: How does it feel to work/do business with/engage with your company?
- Look for new ways to relate to your community.
- Consider how your company is perceived from the outside world.
- How does your message sound to others?
- What are people saying about you?
- Which vulnerabilities are you not yet aware of?
- What is it like to be your customer? How does the onboarding process feel?
Evaluating your Reputation can be difficult, because often it is challenging to step outside of our everyday point of view. We tend to get used to “the way things are.”
Consider your key objectives:
- Where do you want your company to be in 5 years?
- Which ultimate goals do you want to reach?
- Once you get there, how will you adjust to your new fame and fortune?
Goals should be SMART:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented, and Time-Bound.
Here are two ways to rethink your Reputation goals.
Example 1: Inspire with Videos
Video is becoming an extremely important way to communicate with customers, and with the public in general. But leaders often focus more on the internal Reputation needs, and less on that of their customers’ perception.
A typical organization might want to “create new YouTube videos every month.”
They often focus on an arbitrary number, or a nonspecific objective. So they pick figures out of thin air.
- Old goal: “Each video needs to get 1000 views”
- Old goal: “I want my videos to go viral… a million shares in a week!”
Rather than looking at unrealistic numbers, consider: What is your ultimate goal? It could be to teach and inspire people. Consider tying each of your goals back to the company’s Vision, Mission, and Values:
- New goal: “We will publish 1 video a month that inspires our Ideal Customers to make healthy choices.”
- New goal: “We will tell the story of our brand with 5 short videos that make customers the hero.”
These goals include a quantitative measure (1 video a month/5 short videos) and a qualitative measure (inspire, healthy choices/customer as hero).
Example 2: Create Healthy Feedback Loops
After speaking with service business owners around the world, their 3 most common challenges are inefficient processes, jumbled communication, and burnout. The idea of giving up control in order to get the respect of their staff or customers is a very difficult concept.
Typically, we tend to correct inefficiency, miscommunication, and burnout by focusing on the symptoms:
- Old goal: “Make our processes work better.”
- Old goal: “Schedule more meetings, and copy the entire staff on every important e-mail.”
- Old goal: “Delete or eliminate negative social media reviews and comments.”
The problem is that, without a way to hear which problems are directly impacting their progress toward reaching those goals (by Moving the Needle), it’s unlikely that anything will change.
Rather than looking at symptoms, let’s consider the root causes of Reputation problems. This could include:
- Confusing policies, procedures, and rules
- An ostrich approach to negative reviews, angry customers, and departing staff
- Frenzied onboarding and offboarding processes
- Apathy toward the idea of reviewing past failures and mistakes using a Post-Mortem Evaluation
Rather than looking at symptoms, effective Reputation objectives sound like this:
- New goal: “All executive leaders will spend 3 days every quarter as Employee For a Day to understand and engage with staff at all levels of the organization.” (see “Employee For a Day”: How to Start)
- New goal: “Hold a monthly strategic plan engagement events using a variety of learning styles (visual, verbal, logical, kinesthetic) where all stakeholders can share ideas for ways to meet our 4 key objectives.”
- New goal: “Review all online & social media comments daily; for negative feedback, identify the root causes for frustration and seek to make it right.”
Each of the above include Quantitative and Qualitative measures.
- Goal 1: 3 days a quarter
- Goal 2: monthly events
- Goal 3: daily media review
- Goal 1: enter the world of employees, understand, and engage
- Goal 2: invite the sharing of ideas, welcome improvements, consider learning styles
- Goal 3: listen to online comments, identify frustration root causes, take action to make it right
Next in this series, we’ll be talking about the 2nd square: Relationships.
Are you a business owner who feels frustrated about planning for the future? Find out about our services here.
Grace LaConte is a business consultant, writer, workplace equity strategist, and the founder of LaConte Consulting. Her risk management tools are used around the globe, and she has successfully reversed toxic work environments for clients in the healthcare and non-profit fields. Grace specializes in lactation law compliance & policy development, reducing staff turnover after maternity leave, and creating a participatory work culture.