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Having a Vision for Your Organization

Updated: Dec 22, 2019

As a leader, one of the core responsibilities is to establish a vision for your organization. Whether a small, single echeloned organization or a large, multi-echeloned one, having a vision to share with those who follow you is a key step towards achieving a common goal.

A vision is an organizations declaration of its longer term goals stating what is desired in the future. These goals are set by its leader. I will not focus on what the vision should be, but rather on the leader having one and subsequently communicating that vision to those whom he/she leads.

I have written on this when associated with children, and the importance of us as parents setting goals for our future adults. The principles similarly apply to organizations. After arrival, set a timeframe to assess your respective group characteristics. These include its culture, work ethic, attitude, pace, people and how well (or poorly) tasks are completed. All of which give you an appreciation of where the organization is initially. Presumably you understand what your business or company is supposed to do, and can assess how well that purpose is being met. As a newly assigned leader, once you couple where you are and where you should be, now you have the basic components to craft goals to bridge the delta. Depending on your initial assessment, gauge if you need to take the organization from bad to good; good to great; or great to elite. Assess which characteristics need to be improved to enable that organizational jump. Determine if, or to what extent, your organization needs to evolve or transform. I separate evolution as growing from your current state and transformation as a drastic or fundamental change in what you are doing. One is more extreme and dictates more extreme change, but typically does not preclude improving those characteristics that are keeping the organization from moving to that next level.

In my view, leaders factor the now, and how/why the organization exists in its current state. Then they consider the future and what needs to be done to get there. Both of which enables the establishment of clear goals for subordinates to aspire towards. If an evolution, focused energy is on the culture and whether it will enable that evolution or potentially precludes such progress. If a transformation, not only must the cultural limitations be addressed, but simultaneously the dramatic change that is being sought has to be sufficiently understood so that goals can match transformational aspirations.

Whether a young leader or more seasoned, these factors are fluid and typically complex when in combination. So deliberately assessing before crafting your respective vision is something that is not done once, but continually, whether every time you take over a new leadership position or if the aspired horizon warrants it in your current one.

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