How to create an empowering organisational vision
Aspirational yet achievable. Challenging yet motivating. Developing an organisational vision – be it the first your organisation has created or one designed to replace an existing, out-of-date version – is a process that requires a great deal of thought, collaboration and commitment.
Perhaps a restructure has prompted a re-think about the very essence and purpose of your organisation. Perhaps the economic climate has forced your business to re-position itself in the marketplace. Perhaps your leadership team is seeking a long-term plan to fulfil potential organisational performance.
Whatever your reasons, your vision must be clearly defined and then shared by colleagues at all levels. Sounds simple enough? In reality, many organisations are ineffective in creating a compelling, achievable vision. And many more fail to ensure this vision is shared by all employees, embed it into organisational culture and ultimately see it become reality.
A carefully thought through vision, shared by all, will give focus, drive and purpose.
Know what a vision should actually look like
“71% of employees admire leaders who are forward thinking”
The first mistake leaders often make when creating a vision is not having clear guidelines about what it should actually look like. To help organisations through this initial stage, JSB has developed an effective vision criteria model
The vision should:
- Identify direction and purpose: Include clear goals and a clear path for achieving them
- Set a standard of excellence: Be something for all members of the team to aspire to
- Be persuasive and credible: Be achievable and highlight the shared benefits of the vision
- Inspire enthusiasm and commitment: Enable members of a team to have a shared focus
- Be easily understood: Use simple English that all employees can understand
- Challenge and inspire: Be demanding and encourage people to push themselves
- Fit with the business cultures and values: Be consistent with all existing wider organisational values
Be clear on why you need a shared vision
“70% of employees want to work for leaders who are inspiring”
The second mistake organisations can make is a lack of clarity around the reason for, and benefits of, an effective organisational vision. So why is it so important? Apart from it being a great measure for long-term organisational success, a vision (when effectively developed) will provide additional benefits, such as:
- Employee motivation and empowerment
- Inspired learning
- Providing ‘meaning’ to work
- Encouraging commitment and loyalty
- Promoting engagement
- Helping define values
- Informing strategic planning
- Guiding and improving employee behaviour
- Helping with goal setting
- Improving performance and efficiency
- Giving a common sense of purpose
Have a strategy for embedding the vision
“It is not just the leader’s vision that’s important. It has to be a shared vision”
Developing an effective vision and identifying the benefits it will bring to your organisation are followed by a further challenge. Given that your people are the vehicle for your vision to become reality, you must carefully and effectively communicate it to them. Helping them understand, believe in and engage with that vision is critical. JSB has created a 5 step process that leaders can use to successfully inspire a shared vision in their teams:
- Communicate: Tell an engaging story which highlights the benefits your vision will have to all members of the team, and the wider organisation.
- Include: Incorporate all team members’ opinions, ideas and feedback when developing your shared vision.
- Check: Make sure everyone fully understands the vision and what practical action points they need to take to make the vision a reality.
- Commit to action: Clearly define what ‘commitment’ looks like. Share team members goals and values and identify the support that is required from colleagues/leaders/the wider organisation.
- Strategy: Identify the development areas to allow people to develop their personal and team strategy. Strategies need to be broken down into bite size, achievable objectives.
An organisational vision is worthless unless it is used to unite, incorporate and inspire a team as the employees are the driving force when converting a vision into reality. Help your teams to be high performing, motivated, committed and loyal by creating and sharing your organisational vision.