Part 1 - Creating a Shared Vision of Success
A vision is a short statement outlining the organisations desired future state. It should paint a picture of the organisations direction for the future that inspires and motivates people to take action.
It is not merely a goal that you set - it is bigger in picture, it is a long-term destination that you wish your organisation to reach, normally in five to ten years time or longer. Goals tend to be more short-term or medium-term orientated and are what you will need to achieve in order to reach your vision.
A vision is critical to an organisation's success as it provides direction, focus, accountability, motivation and inspiration to employees. Without a vision, employees will have little understanding of how their work contributes to the bigger picture, impacting on employee satisfaction, productivity and business results.
I love to ask business leaders and executives this question:
If there were no barriers (such as money or authority) and you could do or change anything for your team or business what would you do?
Often people are so busy thinking about the reasons they can't do something, that they close off their mind to the possibilities. Starting with this question allows you to think outside of the square, what would you do if anything was possible?
Business leaders should sit around a whiteboard or get some butchers paper and brainstorm their answers to this question. After this has been done, they can assess each of the points and begin to narrow them down, combine them and discard what is not relevant.
Vision Statements Tips:
When creating a vision statement, it should:
Be short, clear and concise - employees should be able to express the vision at any time;
Be a call to action for employees;
Be motivating and inspiring;
Clearly outline the desired future state of the business;
Have a positive, strong impact on employees;
Should be able to lead the way even in challenging times; and
Be a long-term focus - usually five to ten years.
Defining the Vision:
Defining the vision involves working out the purpose of the business. This should be done by as many people as possible to ensure that the people designing the vision have a clear and thorough understanding of the business as a whole. The more people involved, the better the buy-in is going to be. Some questions to get everyone started are:
What is our business and what should it be?
Who are our customers and who should they be?
What do we want to achieve and why?
What kind of difference do we want to make in our market, to the environment, to our customers, to the country or to the business world?
What opportunities exist for our company?
Sample Vision Statements of ASX200 Organisations:
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia: "The Commonwealth Bank’s vision is to excel at securing and enhancing the financial wellbeing of people, businesses and communities."
Woodside: "Our aim is to be a global leader in upstream oil and gas."
Rio Tinto: "Our vision is to become the sector leading global mining and metals company."
Insurance Australia Group (IAG): "Our vision is to be Asia Pacific's most loved, most inventive and most successful insurer."
Myer: "To be an international-class retailer providing inspiration to everyone."
News Corporation: "To continue to be Australia’s No.1 media company."
Telstra: "To do for customers what no one else has done: create a world of 1 click, 1 touch, 1 button, 1 screen, 1 step solutions that are simple, easy and valued by individuals, businesses, enterprises and government."
ResMed: "Our Vision is to be the global solutions leader for SDB, COPD and other major chronic diseases."
A vision is a great place to actually begin strategic planning. By beginning at the end or desired state and working backwards (how you are going to get there), you are formulating dreams that are worth believing in and fighting for.
A great leader will then take these dreams and inspirations and communicate them to their employees. They will paint a picture of what it will look like in five to ten years when that vision has been achieved. They will ask employees to picture the celebrations, the rewards, the recognition and the achievements that would have been made to reach that final destination. This is how a shared vision of success is created and implemented.
This is the first part in a series of posts on strategic planning. Stay tuned for further posts.
PDI Solutions can work with organisations to create and implement an effective strategic plan. We follow five key steps. Step 1 (Environmental Scanning) and Step 2 (SWOT Analysis) are designed to review the work that your organisation does and a review of the organisations internal functioning. Step 3 is to define the organisations vision, mission, core values and objectives. Step 4 includes a full gap analysis between the desired state and the actual performance state. Step 5 is about pulling all of this information together into a strategic plan with key result areas. This step also looks at obstacles for implementation and change management.
This whole process takes approximately one week to work through thoroughly with numerous group exercises for leadership parties. This can also be completed over a longer period if desired.