A mentor of mine once told me about a question he asked the CEO of a billion-dollar company. What does the person at the top do when there are systems and managers in place that run the entire company day-to-day?

“I’m the vision guy,” he said.

This stuck with me. It makes sense. The CEO is the person who reminds the rest of the company of the vision. While everyone is focused on day-to-day tasks, he is the one painting a clear picture of where the company is headed in one, five, and ten years. He puts things in perspective in a way that makes minor issues and daily fires seem like road bumps in the shadow of the grand company vision.

A vision is an image of something that doesn’t exist yet. It can be fleeting if it is not regularly reinforced. That’s why entrepreneurship is so hard, and why most business owners quit before they can sustain themselves.

Vision leads to buy-in. An entrepreneur quits his job and goes all into his company because of its vision, the possibilities that haven’t happened yet. Investors buy into the founder’s vision, not the company itself.

Employees are the same way. They need to understand the vision. They need to feel ownership of their tasks. They need to understand how their contributions affect the company as a whole. They need to know where the company is headed and why it is going there.

A clear vision will filter out employees who don’t believe in it. It will inspire the ones who do. An unclear vision will leave both in the mix.

If you want buy-in, don’t hide your company vision from even your lowest employees.