IN THE PAST, visioning has often suffered from a black eye in the business world. (Remember George H. W. Bush’s comment about the “vision thing”?) It is frequently viewed as faddish or too “touchy-feely.” Most businesses prefer to analyze hard data rather than dealing with amorphous ideas and feelings, and without the essential facilitative skill set, that discomfort is rightfully placed. It is this perception that can ultimately feed the failure of a visioning process. Here are some more common reasons why visions die:
• The organization believes employees are committed to the vision when in fact they are only compliant. The assumption that visions are dictated from on high has not been surfaced, examined or challenged, let alone changed.
• During the process of sharing personal visions, the diversity of personal visions creates conflicting visions and polarization. The organization has not developed the capacity to harmonize these visions into something larger than just a set of individual visions.
• Employees experience the vision as unattainable. The gap between the current reality and the vision is too wide and/or employees have not developed the ability to hold the vision in face of current reality.
• The immediacy of the day-to-day demands competes with the need for long-range planning. Employees may complain that it takes too much time and/or feel unproductive.
• Organizations believe that they are done—that the vision has been created and now it’s time to move on to the next thing. They do not see the visioning process as an on-going dialogue that maintains their sense of community.
Although creating a shared vision is a time-consuming process that often feels lacking in direction, it sets the stage for achieving the desired future. It is the foundation upon which all else will be constructed, and without a solid foundation, future work will be shaky as best.
MAKING YOUR VISION WORK
1 Create a vision you believe in and that excites you. If it doesn’t excite you how can you excite others with it?
2 Consult as many people from different parts of the business as possible to ensure that everyone feels connected to the vision and responsible to achieve it.
3 Learn what motivates your people.Listen to what frustrates and excites them. Ensure the vision taps into these motivations for people to feel a connection to it.
4 Ensure there is clear alignment to KPIs, to performance management systems, and to all processes that will support the achievement of the vision.
5 Communicate the vision in a compelling way that leads people into the future, but is connected deeply with and values past and present successes.
6 Tell stories to bring the vision alive in a compelling and engaging way.
7 Ensure the vision is clear and simple. Use imagery to paint a picture of what the future will look like.
8 Give your people a chance to make sense of the vision and what it means to them so they can make it their own.
9 Live the vision; allow your passion for the vision to ooze out of you.
10 Align your behaviors with the vision; if you can’t step up your performance, how can you expect others to?
CRAFTING YOUR PERSONAL VISION STATEMENT
Use these questions to guide your thoughts
1 What are the ten things you most enjoy doing? Be honest. These are the ten things without which your weeks, months, and years would feel incomplete.
2 What three things must you do every single day to feel fulfilled in your work?
3 What are your five-six most important values?
4 Your life has a number of important facets or dimensions, all of which deserve some attention in your personal vision statement. Write one important goal for each of them: physical, spiritual, work or career, family, social relationships, financial security, mental improvement and attention, and fun.
Tangibles- Finances: What material things would you own?
Home: What is your ideal living environment?
Health: How is your health, fitness and anything to do with your body?
Relationships: What types of relationships you have with friends, family, and others?
Romance/love: How would you describe your ideal partner and relationship?
Work: What is your professional or vocational situation? What is your impact?
Pursuits: What do you create in the arena of individual learning, travel, reading, or other activities?
Community: What is your contribution to the world around you?
5 If you never had to work another day in your life, how would you spend your time instead of working?
6 When your life is ending, what will you regret not doing, seeing, or achieving?
7 What strengths have other people commented on about you and your accomplishments? What strengths do you see in
8 What weaknesses have other people commented on about you and what do you believe are your weaknesses?
Your Life’s Purpose:
Imagine that your life has a unique purpose-fulfilled through what you do, your interrelationships, and the way you live. Describe that purpose, as another reflection of your aspirations.
By Marty Jacobs