Vision, the desired state of an organization, a focus for the future. Leaders bear the responsibility for developing this vision and are charged with the translating it into action (strategy). When members of the organization share this vision they are empowered by its image and achieve greater success. Translating vision to action requires trust, unlimited communication, and leading by example. It’s not easy. Why? Organizational culture (its personality), and lack of decisiveness on the part of the leader interferes with implementation. Let’s discuss this in more detail.
Read what Warren Bennis had to say about the ability to develop a vision and strategy from his book, “Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge”. “The task of synthesizing an appropriate direction for the organization is complicated by the many dimensions of vision that may be required. Leaders require:
• foresight, so that they can judge how the vision fits into the way the environment of the organization may evolve
• hindsight, so that the vision does not violate the tradition and culture of the organization
• a world view, within which to interpret the impact of possible new developments and trends
• depth perception, so that the whole picture can be seen in appropriate detail and perspective
• peripheral vision, so that the possible response of competitors and other stakeholders to the new direction can be comprehended
• a process of revision, so that all previously synthesized visions and strategies are constantly reviewed as the environment changes.
If there is a spark of genius in the leadership function at all, it must lie in this transcending ability, a kind of “magic”, to assemble -out of all the variety of images, signals, forecasts, and alternative- a clearly articulated vision of the future that is at once simple, easily understood, clearly desirable, and energizing.”
Notice the importance Bennis attaches to tradition and culture, and the concern for the evolving organizational environment. Leaders who ignore these basic elements are in for difficult time in establishing and implementing their vision.