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Translating a Vision to Reality (Part 1)
Where an organisation is struggling to make progress, more often than not, such an organisation falls within one or more of the underlisted categories in relation to organisational vision:
• The organisation does not have a vision
• It has a vision but no mission statement
• It has a vision, mission but no strategies
• It has a vision, mission, strategies but lacks effective leadership to
harness organisational resources.
• It has a vision, mission, strategies, effective leadership but lacks resources to implement them.
A vision is an indispensible aspect of an organisation’s life. It is that mental picture that every member of an organisation should be carrying around and seeking ways to make it happen. It creates an identity for an organisation. It can be used as a differentiating factor for competitive advantage in a hypercompetitive environment. An organisation without a vision will lack cohesion and unity of purpose. A vision brings about focus and unity of direction. It helps everyone in the organisation work towards the same direction even when they are separated by huge geographical boundaries.
In this part one of our series, we will be looking at an organisation that does not have a vision. It may be surprising to you to learn that some organisations do not have a vision. This may be down to the fact that they do not know what it is, apprecaite its value or simply lack the skill to craft one that will serve their organisation well. In my management consultancy work, I have come across a number of organisations that do not have a vision or a vision statement. The first indicator that points to a vision problem is when members of the organisation start working at cross purposes with one another. You find everyone doing what they think is good for the organisation and end up duplicating and wasting organisational resources. Again, a vision problem is likely, when members of an organisation cannot say for sure what or who they are striving to become in that organisation.
A vision must be clear and compelling for it to have any appreciable impact in an organisation. An effective vision must address two sets of interests. First, it needs to address the interest of the organisation and members of that organisation. In other words, it must state in clear terms, what the members of that organisation are seeking to become. The second interest is that of the service users or external stakeholders of that organisation. The external stakeholders need to know from your vision what they are likely to gain or be by doing business with you.
Once this is achieved, then you as the leader of the organisation, must set out to communicate the vision to all the stakeholders of your organisation. The way you do this is of utmost importance but that is for another article.
So if you have not yet crafted a vision for your organisation, I hope this article will help you get started.
- Dr. Chuma Osuchukwu