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Issue #12 CC E-News
your business future...
Extract from our FactFile: Leading
with Vision by Bill Cropper - The Change Forum
Download Print version here
Behind everything we achieve in life, there’s a vision --
whether it's in sport, business, career or family life. Personal, social,
community or organisational - visions help us innovate, guide, lead,
direct and inspire ourselves and others.
In a dynamic and deliberate business, everything they do is
driven by the visions a manager shares with the team. Their visions and
values are clearly spelt out, commonly understood and everyone works hard
to ensure they’re shared and followed.
Visioning means focusing on a powerful mental image
of the future. A vision is your preferred future
state -- where you’d like to be if your business is doing the best you can
Paint a picture of the long-term outcomes you want to
achieve in your business
Say where you want to take it and how you plan to get there
Determine overall direction for the actions you take and
the services you provide
When a team, group or a business as a whole collectively
create a shared vision (along with guiding principles and practices to get
them there), this provides common focus, a sense of commitment and mutual
'What can we Create
Together?' ...This is the key question behind
Shared Vision is your
purpose -- your business reason for being.
Creating a shared vision together helps managers and their staff:
Define what they’re here for, where they’re going and how
to get there
Identify what the business targets and performance
challenges really are
Make decisions, solve problems and set improvement
Guide how you’ll work together and relate to each other
Picture more vividly the bottom-line outcomes you need to
achieve and the kind of working climate you want to create on the way.
Shaping a Shared Vision
The biggest struggle most managers face is getting the organisational
vision ‘off the wall and into the hearts and minds’ of people in ways that
make sense to them.
Shared Visions are more than snappy slogans or nice-sounding phrases
crafted in corporate plans or marketing purposes. The real challenge isn’t
drafting vision statements. It’s:
turning them into what we call ‘real working visions’ in
terms of accountability, passion and relevance
translating them into agreed actions and make systems,
structures, activities, operating principles, leadership styles and
behaviours consistent with them.
Here’s some ideas for shaping a shared business vision:
Use consultative approaches that foster genuine, active
commitment and positive enrolment, not resigned compliance. Everyone needs
to understand, share and contribute for the vision to become reality.
The process often starts with a management team sitting
down and have a guided conversation about their aspirations, dreams or
pictures of their business future
Visioning means walking the talk - engaging in
conversations and being open to the different viewpoints of others. Keep
talking till you find the right way to picture it with staff
Empower everyone to participate in the dialogue, planning
and visioning processes that help shape an agreed shared vision
Shared Vision is an ongoing conversation and leadership
tool - not a once-off activity you do over one-weekend. Be persistent in
talking up vision - visions take time, they don't magically fall into
How de we Get Started?
Working visions are tools - and like tools, they wear out. As things
change, new visions are needed. You need to know when the old vision isn’t
working and a new vision is called for.
Simply stating your vision doesn’t automatically deliver
improvements. The walls of many organisations are littered with framed
vision statements that mean little to the people who deliver the services
and deal with customers there.
Think about how people in your business might respond to
your vision? For example:
Are people actively committed to making the vision a
reality or are they cynical, questioning, and dismissive of the vision?
Are people concerned about the inconsistency between the
vision and the reality of what they contribute?
Are people applying creative energy to further the vision
or are they anxious and fearful about the negative impact the vision may
have on them?
Do people feel personally responsible for making the vision
work or do they have little sense of accountability for achieving outcomes
of the vision?
Are people challenged by the vision but feel it’s
attainable and worthwhile with a bit of effort or do they keep saying the
vision is impossible, out of touch and unachievable?
Do people see how the vision helps them achieve outcomes
and strive to raise performance or are they defensive about being tasked
to get outcomes in line with the vision?
Do people speak with high regard for the vision’s
intentions or do they speak of it with bitterness or disrespect?
The startpoint of most shared visioning processes is a
workshop forum where key people (business owners, board members, senior
managers or key operational staff) come together to exchange ideas and
views on questions like:
This diagram maps a 4-step
What are the really important things to us about this
What are the critical challenges we face in delivering a
What are the key themes we need to build our business
What values, operating principles and strategies are needed
to make this vision happen?
What changes do we need to make to current systems and
structures: The way we do things? How we relate to customers/staff?
For many reasons, developing shared visions can be much
harder than it sounds. For a start, different people have different ideas
and values, which are sometimes difficult to air or reconcile.
Most business teams do this better initially if they have
the help of a
neutral facilitator who
can help guide
them through a structured vision-setting process and have the
conversations they need to have along the way.
The Change Forum has extensive, in-depth experience
assisting management teams develop shared visions and turn them into
strategic actions everyone is committed to. We conduct 1, 2 or 3-day
vision-setting forums as well as training leaders in how to use visioning
as part of their leadership toolkit through Leading with Vision –
Module 2 in our Learning-Centred Leadership Series.
Contact us by phone or
on-line to let us know about your
needs and discuss ways we may be able to assist...
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