Category Archives: Vision

Workplace Vision in Action: One Example

Employees can bring many things to the office, but workplace vision is not one of them. Vision is an element of organizational culture, and culture derives most directly from the actions and choices of leaders at all levels.

But what does it mean for a leader to instill vision in to a workplace? What does this look like in practice?

You may remember the plant manager, described in a previous post, who so eloquently linked the requirements of a new manufacturing process to the real, human impact it would have on the lives of the company’s clients.

Two years before that episode, that manager had only recently been hired, and was working to drive the new process into the plant through the rigid application of top-down authority.

Offering no real ownership of the process to employees, he faced (or more accurately, created for himself) numerous challenges.

His top-level managers voiced support only because it was politically expedient to do so. His shop workers used his “fancy” system only resentfully and avoided it in whatever ways possible.

And though a few realized the potential inherent in the new process, most awaited the day that the new manager would go away and the plant would return to “normal.”

The story could have ended in disaster, but happily did not. As time wore on the manager began honestly considering his employees’ views of himself, the effects (both intended and otherwise) of his leadership style, and his hopes and desires for the plant.

Reassessing the foundations of his approach to leadership, he began articulating in more understandable and accessible terms the passion for the work that he had had all along.

In doing so, he instilled a far deeper sense of purpose and meaning in the process he was trying to introduce. He created a vibrant vision of the future for his employees to embrace. And as he more clearly communicated and more consiously modeled this vision, he gradually won the commitment of employees from frontline staff to senior management.

Vision can be a crucial catalyst of organizational change, but it always begins at the top. Moreover, it often, perhaps always, demands the kind personal introspection — challenging and sometimes difficult — that this leader was willing to undertake.

What is my below-the-line understanding of vision and the role it plays in the workplace? How is that understanding manifested in my day-to-day choices? How do others perceive the choices I am making?

Vigilant reflection on questions such as these is key to helping your organization become more committed, enthusiastic, and vision-driven.

Job Description vs. Vision

Why do people work? Or, put differently, towards what do people work? Most employees, if asked about their job, will describe the tasks they perform. “I keep the president’s calendar and make her travel arrangements,” they might say, or “I oversee maintenance and repair of the company’s network servers.” If you press further, asking what… Continue Reading

Vision, Vision Statements, and Leaders as a “Living Symbol”

A compelling sense of vision is integral to the operation of outstanding organizations. If vision is to go beyond mere talk, however, it must be embraced throughout the entirety of a workplace. Leaders must cultivate vision at all levels of organizational responsibility, for only if vision is meaningful to the frontline employees – those who… Continue Reading

Vision, Communication and the Front-Line Employee

Vibrant and meaningful vision is intimately tied to leaders’ dreams hopes for the future. To be effective, though, vision cannot, remain at the level of senior leadership. Only to the extent that it is communicated throughout an organization and collectively embraced does vision become relevant to the work of the organization and begin exerting influence… Continue Reading

Crafting Vision, Finding Vision

Given how frequently the word finds its way into discourse in management circles, it is worth considering what vision is and where it actually comes from. What is the genesis of a vibrant and compelling sense of organizational vision? It is not uncommon to hear people speak about creating or crafting vision. Such sentiments are… Continue Reading

Vision and the Possibility of Achievement

Perhaps you’ve heard the parable of the three bricklayers. Coming across a group of masons at work on the roadside, a traveler asks what each is doing. “Laying brick,” says the first, remaining at his work. “Constructing a wall,” the second replies with a shug. The third wipes his brow and answers, “Building a cathedral.”… Continue Reading

Vision: The Emotional Connection

Much is said today about the role of vision in the workplace. Unfortunately vision is often approached primarily as a tool to be wielded or tactic to be deployed – a mechanistic and relatively superficial understanding unsuited to the task of  capturing employees’ imagination, enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment. A client once took us on a… Continue Reading

Vision, Culture, a Vision *of* Culture

Vision and the conscious building of culture are central to the individual dimensions of reflective leadership. But both take on additional significance in the context of building and leading a reflective organization. Vision lies at the heart of the unity of purpose needed to sustain long-term collective excellence. A clear articulation of why an organization… Continue Reading

© Copyright 1999-2012 Management Associates. All rights reserved.