Volume 1 / Issue 5 / May 23, 2016
Your vision is not one of those single sentence motherhood statements: “We will be envied by our Competitors and valued by our Customers for our Quality, Service, Blah, Blah. Blah.” We have all seen those mean nothing, say nothing, change nothing vision statements hanging in the foyer of countless corporate offices.
To me they all look the same and could have been taken from the same book of corporate vision statements. Now close your eyes and imagine how good your company’s future could look on as many different levels as possible. Imagine your people all enthusiastically participating in problem solving and daily improvement activities. Imagine customer information being processed to completion immediately it arrives and production commencing immediately after that. Imagine the alignment of your Value Streams through your customer’s organization, through yours and through your suppliers’. Imagine components flowing from one manufacturing process immediately to the next with no waiting in piles of WIP. Imagine raw materials flowing in just in time in response to visual signals from your shop floor.
Imagine organizational unity of purpose where the sales team are recognized and incentivized not by the big “killer order” but by keeping order intake to a 5% span around the monthly mean. Imagine your accounting and measurement systems all in tune with and supporting this lean enterprise. This is your vision. This is your true North.
This Vision is where your company is going. It must be an attractive destination that your people find intellectually and emotionally acceptable. Conflicts on either of these levels will ensure that commitment will not be possible. Above all, employees must find it an attainable and desirable future.
The Vision must be formulated by the Executive and agreed upon at the highest levels within the company —commitment is vital. This Vision must be an easily and frequently articulated description of the future state. The frequent, free and passionate sharing of the Vision is a major role of leadership. The leader must make it clear that the future is not somewhere we are going - it’s somewhere we are all making.