Scroll to top
© Optimize Consulting Inc. | All Rights Reserved

Wood for the Trees

Optimize Blog - January 15, 2018 - 0 comments

A famous line from Alice in Wonderland is “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” and here at Optimize we think it’s pretty important that you know where you are going as an organization. You need a vision – a description of what the organization needs to look like in the future.
Coming up with a vision that the organization can subscribe to takes a bit of hard work but it sure beats heading off with no understanding of where you are going to get to. How many of us jump into a taxi and just shout “Drive!”? That happens in the movies but in the real world we have a destination in mind, we provide the address to the taxi driver and we turn up in the right place and at the right time hopefully appropriately attired for the event…….
The process of developing a vision is a wonderful opportunity for people to come together, take a pragmatic look at their area, take a punt at what the future might hold and work cooperatively to describe a direction they want to go. It takes good information and hard work to make a link between the present and the future. One thing we know is that the success of creating a vision and its subsequent acceptance by a group of employees and stakeholders directly correlates to the diversity of the group who developed it. Broad interests yield broad support; limited interests bring limited support.
The final vision should be a couple of sentences or a few bullet points and has to be clear, focused, and easily understandable. It shouldn’t be a weighty tome full of marketing rhetoric and corporate buzz words – we see through those and they lack credibility. We like what Sir John Harvey Jones had to say about a description of vision – “A vision should be an attractive and clear view of the future which can be shared. It must motivate, be ambitious and should stretch people to achieve more than they thought possible”.
Visions are based on reality; they are not wishful thinking. They should also not include egotistical aspirations that the company cannot achieve or even afford – “industry-leading” is a good example where the value is not obvious nor the cost of achieving such a lofty ambition. If it is slightly out-of-reach, that is okay; if it is as unrealistic as a New Year’s resolution, then scale it back.
The advantages of using a group to do this work are to use their collective imaginations to create the most positive, practical, possible outcome for the team or resource; to enable shared authorship of the vision which will translate into a sense of ownership and commitment to seeing the vision realized; and, assuming the group represents diverse interests, to broaden support among the stakeholders throughout the company and even externally should this be a key focus of the vision process.
Once written, a vision statement helps to define the direction in which to proceed. For example, a statement of the vision can be used to work “backwards” to develop a plan of action. Ask: “If this were the future, and this vision has happened, what was done?” “How did we get this outcome?” This helps avoid focusing on negative reactions such as how difficult or impossible it will be to do something. All subsequent activities, objectives and goals should lead toward the creation of the reality.
Of course, while the vision gives us direction, culture, values and behaviours provide the ability to get us there. Sounds like the basis for a future blog……… Happy New Year!

Related posts

Post a Comment