How to Create an Organizational Vision
Before you create an Organizational Vision, it’s very important that you have already taken the time to develop a Personal Vision for your life. Unless you’ve laid out what you would like to do with your life personally, it’s possible that your Organizational Vision might not be in alignment. So be sure to write down your personal dreams and plans, share them with those closest to you, and review those dreams and plans at least every year to make any changes that might be necessary.
Assuming you are now very comfortable with what you would like to achieve in your own personal life, including a rough timetable, it’s time to create a Vision for your organization. Please note that, even after you have created the Vision for your organization, it can still change in the future. For example, each time you review the external environment (the economy, competition, technology, etc…) during the strategic planning process, you may find that environmental changes will make it necessary to modify the Vision for your organization. That is, you might find that there are environmental factors at work which will make your Organizational Vision too simple or too difficult to achieve. So be sure to keep this in mind as you create the Organizational Vision.
There are two very important things to remember about an Organizational Vision. First, it should be created by the owner, not by a team of people, since this is the owner’s dream, and it must be consistent with the owner’s Personal Vision. Second, while the Organizational Vision is often shared with customers and the public at large, it is actually meant for internal use, and is designed to drive the behavior of your employees every day by providing them with a crystal-clear explanation of exactly where you want to go, or what you want to become.
Organizational Visions are usually written in the future tense, as what you want the organization “to be” or “to become.” In the case of WOW Pest Control, their Vision is “to be the first choice for residential pest control services in Miller County.” Ideally, you must be able to actually determine when you’ve achieved your Organizational Vision, so be sure that it can somehow be measured, even if only by a periodic survey of customers. In the case of WOW Pest Control, “first choice” means that homeowners in Miller County would contact WOW before any of their competitors due to WOW’s impeccable reputation, even if WOW doesn’t ultimately get selected. WOW Pest Control has made firm plans to conduct a market survey every two years to measure progress toward their Vision.
Creating the Vision for your organization can be complicated, and you might need help from someone, but it’s well worth the effort to achieve total clarity so that your employees know why they come to work every day! It needs to be communicated to your employees over, and over, and over again.
The process of linking your Vision to your plan is much like choosing a destination for your family vacation. You identify a VERY SPECIFIC END POINT (Organizational Vision) before you begin. Perhaps it’s a beach house at a specific address. You then chart a detailed route that will get you there, (similar to the strategic plan you create to achieve your Organizational Vision), and you clearly articulate the end point and the route so that all of your family members are well-informed. In business, and in driving your family to their vacation spot, you don’t want people continuously asking, “Where are we going?” or, “Are we almost there?” If you use your GPS system to help you reach your vacation destination, it will remind you at each turn along the way, and might even alert you to detours so you can continue toward your destination despite obstacles that may have arisen.
At any point during your vacation trip, your GPS system can also help you determine how much progress you’ve made toward your destination. In much the same way, you’ll need controls in place to monitor the progress you make toward your Organizational Vision. These often take the form of budgets and/or “dashboards” to track progress versus key control indicators.
Whatever you do, resist the urge to make your Organizational Vision too complicated. It needs to be clear and simple so that every employee can recite it without help, and it needs to be communicated repeatedly by the leader of the organization. When companies follow these simple rules, there is far less confusion among employees because they all know the desired end point.