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From chaos to clarity: How to align vision & action during fast growth

Maxim Van Reybrouck
Maxim Van Reybrouck CFO at Nodalview

In the fast-paced startup world, growth is often a double-edged sword. With great growth come great challenges. And because scaling is the goal and dream for many founders, it’s easy to overlook these issues and hope they won’t affect you. 

As CFO at Nodalview, I’ve seen this in action. We grew our revenue 10X in a period of 4 years, and hit plenty of hurdles as we did so. 

But these issues shouldn’t stand in your way. And I believe we found a smart and replicable approach to move past them.

In this article, I’ll share how we tackled (and overcame) classic alignment challenges with internal guidelines and a clear vision, values, and mission.

The situation: a symphony of passionate chaos

Our rapid expansion was fueled by a team of passionate individuals dedicated to revolutionizing the real estate industry. We have a clear goal: to change the way people find a place to call home. Team motivation was extremely high. 

But this collective drive, while a cornerstone of our success, sometimes led to misaligned efforts and obscured our contribution to the company's overarching mission. The best intentions often clashed, which created confusion.

We had more than enough passion and energy. We needed clarity. 

And there wasn’t only a lack of alignment, there was no mechanism to create alignment

So we embarked on a journey to align our organization from the top down, increasing accountability and ensuring that every project, and every team member, directly contributes to our long-term vision.

Fixing the fundamentals & crafting the big picture

The path to clarity begins with introspection. You need to define who you are, what you stand for, and your place in the world. As much as this sounds like a branding exercise, it’s much more fundamental and of strategic importance. 

Together with our leadership team, we held sessions to articulate our vision and values as guidelines. Here’s my take on what these broad concepts mean:

  • A company vision is the crazy dream that aligns all of us. It’s a clear, inspiring declaration of what we aspire to achieve in the long term. While we’ll never reach our vision (we will never be done), it serves as a north star guiding every decision and action. We intend to change the way people find a place to call home.

  • Company values are the principles that define our culture and how we interact with each other, our customers, and our stakeholders. They’re the bedrock of our identity and influence every aspect of our operations. Values don’t change over time. We carefully wrote down the 5 values that perfectly summarize our identity. We then applied these across the company, from recruiting to performance management.

Next, you must define your company mission, the unique way in which you intend to reach your vision. In our case, we aim to become the leading sales and marketing solution, loved and trusted by real estate professionals. worldwide. 

And it’s essential to be able to measure your progress for each of the key aspects in the mission.

All of that’s important. But there’s still a gap with the day-to-day reality. 

The next step is to identify your strategies, the unique approach you’ll take to realize your mission. They’re the game plan, detailing how you navigate challenges and seize opportunities to achieve your goals.

The real transformation: aligning vision with action

With a clear vision, mission, strategies and fundamental values, we witnessed immediate benefits. Confidence increased as everyone could articulate, and be inspired by, our purpose and direction. From talking to candidates in recruiting, to friends at a party, we all felt more confident to go beyond the simple “we are a start-up in real estate.”

But the real game changer comes next, when you start connecting your high-level strategies to your day-to-day work in a quarterly cycle.

The cycle begins with setting clear, measurable objectives for each of the company's five strategies over the next 6 months. These objectives are not arbitrary; they’re the result of a meticulous process of identifying the "must-win" battles within the next six months that are critical to advancing your strategies. This forward-looking approach ensures that your efforts are not just reactive, but proactive and strategically aligned.

Once these high-level objectives are established, the real magic starts. Every team lead and manager within Nodalview is tasked with translating these broader objectives into specific, quarterly goals for their teams. This translation process is crucial—it's where the abstract becomes concrete, and strategies turn into actionable projects.

To facilitate this, we created a Notion database — a digital, living document that serves as a transparent repository of all objectives and projects. This table has grown to be much more than just a tracking tool; it gradually became the centerpiece of collective ownership at Nodalview. Every team member can see how their work fits into the larger picture, fostering a sense of belonging and purpose.

The highlight of this process is our Strategy Day, our quarterly milestone. During Strategy Day, all managers come together to present, review, and refine their quarterly objectives and projects. It's an opportunity to challenge assumptions, identify synergies, and ensure that our collective efforts are not just aligned but optimized for impact.

Following Strategy Day, each manager is not only armed with a clear set of approved projects but also the context and understanding needed to communicate these effectively to their teams. This ensures that every individual at Nodalview understands not just the 'what' but the 'why'— how their efforts contribute to the broader objectives and, ultimately, to fulfilling our mission and vision.

Reflections and recommendations

Four Strategy Days in, we're still refining our approach, learning from feedback to enhance our process. The journey from chaos to clarity is ongoing, but the progress we've made is undeniable. The alignment and accountability we've achieved have been transformative.

For fellow CFOs my message is clear: the effort to align your organization's vision, mission, and strategies with day-to-day operations is well worth it. It's a powerful way to harness your team's passion and drive towards a common goal, eliminating confusion and enhancing accountability.

Together, let's transform our organizations from chaos to clarity, one strategic step at a time.

About the author

Maxim Van Reybrouck is CFO at Nodalview, after holding roles as management consultant at McKinsey and Chief of Staff at Brussels Airlines. Besides work, Maxim is a father of 2 and passionate about aviation.

About Nodalview

Nodalview is changing the way people find a place to call home. It leverages high-quality visual assets and immersive content, to let real estate agents better attract, engage and qualify potential customers, while delivering a modern online buying experience. With Nodalview, agents can grow their online presence, close deals faster with tangible data insights, and match the right buyers with the right home.

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