A vision statement is one of those incredibly squishy topics for managers. Sure, consultants rave about them. But the rest of us feel our eyes glazing over at the very thought. And yet conveying your vision of the business to employees is crucial.

Here are two thoughts to weigh. Constructing a vision statement, which is more strategic than a mission statement, is a more-than-meets-the-eye process. It isn't the result that knocks your socks off -- it's the mental exercise you go through to get it. Second, it follows that a vision statement isn't going to be meaningful to anyone who doesn't help create it.

To get started, consider the vision-statement guide produced by Jan Cook Reicher Associates (201-798-6925). The six-page primer costs $4 and contains a definition of vision statements, questions to spur your thoughts, and examples from large and small companies. -- Ellyn E. Spragins