Volume 1 / Issue 14 / September 26, 2016
The power of an effective vision
The simple definition of vision is
a future desired state.
It is a mental construct or image of a place in the future that is often referred to as an organization’s true north. The better an organization’s future state can be defined, described, illustrated and explained, the more easily the task of generating and leading followers towards it becomes. Hence, the vision’s job is to provide direction.
Done right, a vision will drastically reduce the waste caused by misalignment of actions and poor streaming of corporate resources and decisions.
Many outstanding leaders will tell you that for them, “vision is everything.” Unfortunately, well over half of the 90,000 manufacturing entities across Canada do not use vision thinking very effectively. The misalignment that this generates impacts their ability to enhance their productivity and ultimately their ability to compete.
From a practical perspective, a closer look at what an effective vision must contain is important so that it can be clearly expressed and shared by management in daily conversations.
The inclusion of the following four elements will yield more powerful results especially if all members of the leadership can make it into a 4-point routine. One can make it their personal KATA (habit) to refine and improve. So what are the key elements of an effective vision? Effective vision is:
1 Leadership initiated:
Visions come from leaders, not the masses. However, to accelerate the journey to the vision, good leaders will choose to involve their workforce to gain buy-in.
2 Shared and supported:
To get and keep everyone on the same page, management’s every-day conversations need to contain elements that keep vision top of mind.
3 Comprehensive and detailed:
This is the most overlooked or neglected element because it means work. Glib sound-bites just don’t work! There must be a full plan about how the future desired state will be attained or it will not gain full support
4 Positive and inspiring:
A Vision must be expressed clearly and as simply as possible.. It must contain words and ideas that are understood by everyone.. People migrate toward positive environments not negative. Accurately stating one’s vision in terms that people understand will require management to spend time getting to know them as individuals. It’s worth the effort.
The Problem with Vision
It’s not in understanding it, but in the discipline to use it!
Here is the vision issue simplified: How many times do you hear the plaintive cry, “If only we all could get on the same page?” Vision is probably one of the most misused words in North America. Our politicians do their best to describe the “future desired state” we will vote for. If you are trying to achieve results through people vision is one of your best friends.
To paraphrase a Jay Myers analogy, ‘Canada is like a Piper Cub flying below a 747 (the US) - any rough landing for the 747 will make it not a good day for the Piper Cub.’ While it’s true, some have healthy backlogs now with the 77c dollar, many do not and the RBC Purchasing Managers Index rate is fluttering. It is ATJ’s view that, over this coming uncertain year, we will be calling on the visioning process to align our people, suppliers and customers in response to changes in the United States.
Vision: It’s a ‘future desired state’. It’s a place that needs description and, because it is a destination, it gives us the all-important direction. Keep in mind that the more clearly it can be defined, the easier it will be to communicate to others who are on the journey with you.
Our success is predicated upon everyone knowing what the vision is. If there is ANY misalignment – there will be waste!
"Action without vision is only passing time,
vision without action is merely daydreaming,
but vision with action can change the world!"