How Many Visions Does Your Company Have?

So we have a shared vision.  Now what?  It is a common mistake to believe that once a company develops a vision of the future (and a few strategic goals) that everything will magically fall into place.  Reality check: This isn’t the case.

Unfortunately, this expectation also creates various levels of frustration among employees – as they are often expected to just “make it happen” – along with everything they are already doing.  And, among executives who can’t understand why people aren’t dropping everything to support the strategies they created at a beachside company retreat over the weekend.

Some organizations have developed individual vision statements for departments and even individuals.  While this may be an interesting exercise (read: increased consultant fees), it may do nothing more than fracture or blur your newly developed shared vision.  Next time you are at an organization with cascading vision statements, walk around and ask a few employees to articulate the company’s vision.  I’ll bet lunch that the cumulative responses will create a distorted view of where the company is heading.  Now, imagine you are a new employee at an organization with varying visions?  I think you get the picture.

Rather than build individual and departmental visions, I recommend spending resources to develop systematic methodologies (across all functions of the organization – regardless of its size) to execute tactics to support the mission (what we do today) and strategies to move closer to the shared vision (where we want to go).  This will provide your organization with a more cohesive group, working hand-in-hand to create momentum and achieve results.

Here are a few straightforward steps to link action to your vision.

1. Ask:  How can our workgroup improve our systems to free up new resources to more effectively deliver our mission, and move closer to our vision?

2. What are we doing today that supports our shared vision?

3. What are we doing today that inhibits our ability to support our shared vision?  (Be ready to jettison or rework these processes.)

4. What skills and competencies will our workgroup need to fine tune, acquire, or protect in order to support the organization’s shared vision?

5. Now, answer each of these questions as an individual.

6. Share this information in a cross-functional setting to develop a series of tactical plans aimed at “getting things done”.

A shared vision and strategic business plan are crucial to ensuring your resources are aligned toward your desired future.  But, the plan doesn’t do the work by itself.  Your staff makes it happen.  Be sure to support their efforts, provide them with resources to be successful, and be open to their ideas and ways of doing things more efficiently and effectively.