Does Your EMS Agency Have a Vision Statement?
It seems that every organization has a vision statement. As a speaker, when visiting groups of leaders, I often ask: “Who has a vision statement for their organization?” A flurry of hands usually go up. However, the next question stuns the room: “Who can come up here and recite it for me?” As you can imagine, not many volunteer for that request.
If the leaders of an organization do not know the vision statement or where the organization is headed, how can they expect the workforce to know this direction? Your organizational vision statement is one of the most important pieces of the foundation for organizational success. Let me demonstrate why. As you read this, think about your car. Now think about your front door. When you thought about your car, you did not see the letters C-A-R; you actually saw your car.
We are wired to think in pictures, so in the absence of this picture, we do not know what to envision in our minds. The same is true for the vision your organization seeks to attain. Your vision statement is where you are heading, strategy is the plan for getting there, and culture is the behavior your organization portrays along the way. This is the trifecta of success. Without one of those elements, success is hard to achieve.
Your vision statement must be in the forefront of everyone’s mind, so people know where the company is heading. Everyone will also know how their specific responsibilities fit into making the vision a reality. Here are a few tips for developing a vision:
- Decide how your organization will look five years from now;
- Always use present tense;
- Make it short and easy to remember. The vision statement should be 3-4 lines, using clear and concise language;
- Fill it with passion and emotion, as that’s what will enable your organization to deliver the best patient care, and to be leaders in your community and role models for our career field;
- Make it ambitious enough to inspire and motivate, as everyone wants to be on a winning team and this is the playbook for how to make it happen;
- Have a plan to communicate and celebrate your new direction daily.
If you are one of those leaders who may not be familiar with your vision statement, don’t fret. This is a great opportunity for organizational development. Tear up the existing statement and invite members of the workforce, leadership team and maybe even community stakeholders to develop and write a new vision. Write two or three that you send out to your workforce to vote on. Once you have the vision finalized, build a campaign around it that will make this vision front and center for everything your organization does from that point forward.
Chris Cebollero, NREMT-P, is a senior partner for Cebollero & Associates in St. Louis, MO. He also hosts the EMS Leadership podcast and EMS World’s The World of EMS podcast and is a member of the EMS World editorial advisory board.