A vision is an expression of hope and idealism. It oversimplifies the world and implies that anything is possible.
We have a vision or an image of where we wish to head and the kind of organization we wish to create. We ask the organization to tell us its vision, its values, and how it wants us to operate, and then that becomes our guidepost.
Creating a vision forces us to take a stand for a preferred future. It makes the entrepreneurial cycle work because it gives us something we are willing to risk for.
When employees feel that their units are their own business, and they and they alone are in the process of creating an organization of their choosing, their talents begin to shine.
TIPS FOR CREATING THE VISION OF GREATNESS
Empowering ourselves comes from acting on our enlightened self-interest. Therefore, the first step in implementing an entrepreneurial organization is to create a vision of greatness for your group. This vision expresses your values and what you hope to contribute.
The strategic element of a vision involves staying focused on your customers/users and expressing in the vision how you contribute to the mission of the organization.
Tip No. 1: Forget about Being Number One
The vision of greatness is a statement of what we offer our customers and each other, and we commit to the vision because the vision is worth pursuing its own sake.
Tip No. 2: Don’t Be Practical
Our desire to be practical works against the creation of a vision. A vision of greatness expresses the spiritual and idealistic side of our nature. It is a preferred future that comes from the heart, not from the head. Being practical too quickly acts as a restraint on the vision.
Tip No. 3: Begin with Your Customers
The long-term survival of an organization is dependent upon how well the organization stays in touch with and serves its internal and external customers. This also applies to a department operating within a larger organization. The way through this competitive/collaborative ambivalence is for each function to ask itself who its internal customers/users are and to create a vision, a preferred future, of how it wants to work with them.
Tip No. 4: You Can’t Treat Your Customers Any Better Than You Treat Each Other
If we, as customers, are being ignored, they as employees are probably being ignored. If they are cold, indifferent, and unresponsive, we have some very good clues as to the management style of their supervisors. We have to manage our own people in a way that is absolutely aligned with the way we want our customers and users to be managed.
Our vision channels our deepest values into the workplace and becomes a word picture of how we want our values to be lived out in our unit. The vision is also our way of discovering that serving the organization also serves our self-interest. It is an act of leadership when we create a vision that positions our unit in relation to the customer and our own colleagues.
This article is an adaptation of the excerpt from ‘The Empowered Manager: Positive Political Skills at Work, 2nd Edition’ by Peter Block. To learn more about the book, click here.