Gotta Get Religion
"The concept of vision is critical in today's world of flattened, delayered, decentralized organizations," comments Chris Lee, editor of Training Magazine. "Studies have found that, over time, vision-driven companies perform better than the general market."
So, if vision is so important, how do you get one?
Consult the history of the world's great religions and you will find organizations that surpass all human endeavors in terms of endurance and focus. They have succeeded kingdoms, empires and dictators. They survive dark times and upheaval, wealth, corruption and greed. They have even conquered periodic malaise and deep internal divisions.
It would be simplistic to render the perpetuation of religion as merely institutionalized social behavior. Without faith, a church is but a house and a Bible is nothing more than a book. Faith and spiritual enlightenment are powerful components that compel humans to seek the guidance from communal practice and teaching.
Focused mission, well-defined purpose and an optimistic future are part of the fellowship that has allowed the world's great religions to endure for thousands of years. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindi and Buddhists all share in the polarized campaign to pass on generations of dedication and maintenance to the continuation of the organization.
What CEOs and managers would pay to create such fervor within their own companies.
Whatever label you wish to affix to visions, the words must describe an overarching purpose and the means to achieve that end. Your vision should demonstrate commitment to articulated values that can act a guiding light.
Author Stephen Covey recommends that a vision be timeless and encompass all the organization's stakeholders, not just from the manager's point of view, but from all levels and weighing every facet of performance, functionality and purpose.
All too often, the corporate vision is a top-down extension of crisis management rising from unexpected changes in the marketplace, a challenge to survival, or installation of new management. Without a fully encompassing vision, an organization will drift aimlessly like driftwood in a fast moving stream.