Setting your sights Featured

8:00pm EDT August 26, 2008

Back when VisionIT Inc. was a smaller organization, founder and CEO David Segura could easily go out to lunch with employees and talk about the company’s vision and goals.

Now with 850 employees, doing so is more difficult, forcing Segura to find other methods to communicate his company’s vision, including an anniversary video showing how the IT staffing company grew to 2007 revenue of more than $107 million, up 373 percent from 2006.

“Every new team member that joins our company sees the VisionIT video and gained a better understanding and appreciation for where the company started from and where it’s going,” Segura says. “It allows us to touch many more people through that video.”

However, before you can communicate a vision, you must first research your industry, create your vision and then stick with it.

Smart Business spoke with Segura about how to get the most out of your company’s vision.

Understand your current marketplace. Initially, you are setting the groundwork of making sure you’ve got all of the clear data and information before setting that vision.

You’re not always going to have every piece of information, but you want to try to gather as much as possible to then look at and evaluate and say, ‘This is where we are at; this is what I have to work with as far as resources.’ But, also know that when you are establishing that vision, there are still always going to be some, if not many, unknowns. But, based on that framework, you can establish a clear vision of, ‘This is where I want the organization to go. This is how I see it operating. This is what I see it doing. Here’s the types of people I see that our organization will have to attract or groom from within the organization.’

A lot of people have dreams of, ‘I wish I could do this; I wish I could do that,’ When you start to really pepper them with more questions, you find they haven’t done a lot of research on that industry — how they’re going to get there, what the current trends are.

I think what is important is doing your research so you clearly understand what is happening in that industry before you set that vision of where you want the organization to go. From my perspective, a lot of the decisions and game plans ... that we built for VisionIT came from a lot of research and planning and strategy and then being audacious.

That’s the exciting part of setting a vision. It is unlimited. You may not have every aspect of it mapped out, but that’s also part of the excitement of setting forth that vision and the experience and the adventure you go on in fulfilling that vision.

Don’t overanalyze. Some people are extremely analytical, and they can spend too much time, or they are not audacious enough that they are so concerned about, ‘That might not even be possible.’

It’s a nice balance between doing research and gathering data, but also timing is so important and understanding that there is a time to act and a time to begin to move forward. Sure, you aren’t going to have every piece of data. You can start gathering that information as you proceed forward.

But, if you stay in the visionary stage too long without moving forward, the timing of the opportunities may dissolve quickly.

Don’t lose focus. Clearly, that really comes from the leadership team of ensuring that we stay focused that the opportunities we take on align with where the organization is going, that we’re not taking any opportunities just because it exists or someone’s willing to give it to us.

Once the vision has been set and people are driving toward it, then new things are coming into the organization — new opportunities that are totally different than the vision you’ve set. I find that an organization starts to take on those opportunities and suddenly there is confusion within the organization because you have team members that are saying, ‘I thought this is what we’re trying to achieve, and now it seems like something totally different.’

I find that a major pitfall for an organization is they get excited about the opportunities, but it doesn’t align with the vision.

So they lose focus. They start going down so many different paths that unfortunately their organization stops rallying around the work and becomes more frustrating, more confusing — ‘Who’s doing what? Who’s on first? Who’s on second?’ Before you know it, nothing is working and the morale is down and your organization isn’t achieving and you’ve spread yourself too thin. You’re not driving toward that vision.

We had a customer that wanted to give us all of their clerical business. VisionIT said, ‘We’re not a clerical staffing company; we are a technology firm.’ We could have taken it on. I know we would have worked hard and delivered. But I think it would have caused confusion within my organization — ‘I thought we were an IT company?’

That’s a good example of why we’ve achieved the results we have because everyone clearly understands that we are a technology firm first and foremost.

HOW TO REACH: VisionIT Inc., (877) 768-7222 or www.visionitinc.com