Category Archives: Vision

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 not inaccurate per se, but it’s important to understand that true vision is less something that is created than it is excavated from within.

Vision is a thing the roots of which can be found in each one of us already, if we take the time to look. It is something that needs to be found rather than created, something to be articulated rather than crafted.

For some leaders, vision lies near the surface. It is apparent and relatively straightforward to identify and articulate. For others, vision lies a bit deeper and must be unearthed though a more sustained process of inquiry, introspection and discovery.

But either way, the search is a crucial step of the process and ingredient of the final product. The process of looking within, that inventory-taking of personal values, motivations and dreams, allows leaders to find what will not only inspire themselves, but others as well.

So what goes into a compelling vision? Marketplace metrics have a role, but rarely are effective organizational visions entirely or even predominantly defined by them. In a similar vein, money is indispensable to organizational functioning, but the pursuit of profit will never, by itself, create enthusiasm and commitment. Employees do not cherish dreams of growing market share or hold within their hearts aspirations of happy shareholders and smiling board members.

To capture the spirit of employees at its most vibrant and vital, then, leaders need to ask themselves not only why their organization and its products and services do exist, but why they should exist. To pull the best from their employees, they need to answer who really cares if their business exists at all, and why the world is better off with it than without it.

At its highest, vision defines an organization by the contributions it makes to society.  Statements of this kind touch on issues of the personal and the human, considerations that speak to a universal longing for a better future. And it is in these terms, therefore, that leaders can most effectively articulate their organization’s most inspiring understanding of itself and its work.

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

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… Continue Reading

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

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