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Leadership: Creating a Vision
By Frank Sonnenberg
Leaders must create a shared vision that shapes the way employees feel about their organization. They must accept responsibility for making “the company,” “our company”–– a place where people work together instead of “doing their own thing.” The vision may be precise or vague; it may highlight a specific goal or a dream of a better future. It is critical to present a clear and concise view of the organization that is compelling, realistic, believable, and attractive. Furthermore, it must promise a better future than prevailing conditions in visible and important ways.
It is important, however, that this vision not be so removed from the reality of the organization, or so difficult to achieve, that no one takes it seriously. The shared vision, statement of purpose, and operating values must be integrated so that they mesh with the day-to-day activities of the organization. A shared vision must also make a connection with the personal values and desires of each and every individual.
Creating the vision, however, is not enough. It must be brought to life and then imbued in the corporate culture. The vision must be so omnipresent that employees old and new incorporate it into their personal and corporate belief structure, and then communicate it to customers and suppliers and the world at large. Moreover, it must be articulated clearly and frequently throughout the organization, so that it becomes ingrained in the organization’s culture. Then the corporate structure and management style must be shaped to lend credence to the image created by the vision.