Does your organization have a vision? If you answered, “I don’t know” or “We do, but I’m not sure what it is,” don’t feel alone – you are in the majority. Although many organizations have a vision statement, often it’s filed away somewhere or framed on the wall collecting dust.
Yet we know, and research has proven, that having a vision is one of the key differentiators between being average and outstanding.
When people are guided by a shared vision, a tremendous amount of energy, excitement and power is released, and they are able to overcome tremendous obstacles and achieve great victories.
Without a clear vision, we are inundated with demands for our time that that get us off focus and waste a lot of time and energy.
Leadership is about going somewhere. Leaders need to be clear about where they’re going if they expect to lead the way. Without a vision to serve, leaders can become self-serving.
Why are so few people guided by vision?
Some people just don’t get the “vision thing” and have no idea how to create one. A vision is not a warm fuzzy ‘pie in the sky’ statement. When the three elements of a vision are understood, we are able to create a compelling vision that shows a clear destination and gives each person a motivating reason to do what they do and clarifies their role in what needs to be accomplished.
Sometimes a leadership team creates something they’re excited about, but don’t know how to bring it forward into the organization. Announcing a vision or trying to sell it usually doesn’t work well.
Sometimes people get organized around a vision and then lose their focus. The vision must be integrated into every aspect of the organizational life and used to guide daily decisions. And must be revisited when change occurs, not to change the vision, but to reset the course.
In some cases, organizations have used a so-called vision as the basis for downsizing and restructuring. It’s hard to get excited about something that is causing pain. As a result of the misuse of the visioning process, some people have become cynical about the value of vision.
Sometimes people think they have a vision, because they’ve put a plan together or agreed on a statement, but it’s not something that’s really guiding them on an ongoing basis.
Does your team really have a vision?
Here’s a checklist you can use to see if your team’s vision will get you where you want to go.
A real vision:
- Helps us understand our team’s purpose
- Provides a picture of the desired future that we can actually see
- Provides guidelines that help us make daily decisions
- Is enduring
- Is about being “great”—not solely about beating the competition
- Is inspiring—not expressed solely in numbers
- Touches the hearts and spirits of everyone
- Helps each person see how he or she can contribute