Defined: Actively communicate the purpose (i.e., the why) of the organization and a compelling vision of the future.
“The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. Vision will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our commitment to do whatever it takes to achieve excellence. Our VISION is what we become in life. ” – Tony Dungy, NFL Player and Coach
All else being equal, people would rather work for a cause, than a company; they’d rather work for a purpose, than a paycheck. Great leaders paint an optimistic, compelling vision of the future and explain how everyone’s work contributes to the realization of that future. When employees believe their organization has a bright future, they can believe that their career has a bright future, too.
Leaders Skilled in Being Mission & Future Vision Focused
- Share their companies' mission, strategy and vision with their teams
- Think and talk with a realistic, but optimistic perspective
- Ensure that all team members understand their roles' importance to the mission
- Establish goals, objectives and milestones that align to the strategy and future vision
- Exude a genuine enthusiasm of a manner that is contagious
- Are skilled in building and sustaining a culture of mission focus
- Are persistent in pursuit of the organization's goals and priorities
- Are able to filter out non-priorities that distract from the mission
What Prevents the Ability to Be Mission & Future Vision Focused
- Lack of understanding of mission, strategy, goals, and vision
- Over-complication of strategic planning concepts
- Procrastination or poor habits on follow-through
- Lack of passion for the mission
- Uninspiring communication style
- What is your organization's mission?
- What is your leadership's vision?
- What is the strategy that will realize this vision?
- Why are you personally passionate about your company's mission? Why do you share your leadership's vision?
- What do you believe are the most important ideas to convey to your team, to inspire them to want to become long-term members of your company's team?
Tips for being Mission & Future Vision Focused
- Provide a clear, simple and inspiring statement of your leadership vision.
- Help every team member understand the importance of their role to the company's mission.
- Promote a culture that features appreciation of the value your organization provides for your customers, i.e., how your team helps their customers succeed in reaching their goals.
- Command (not demand) respect, by demonstrating your thoroughness of knowledge, your leadership acumen, fairness, integrity, agility, and your belief in your team and your mission.
- Be consistent in your words and actions.
- Respect individuals, and recognize that they have their own needs and goals. Ask about their interests, and help them figure out how those can support, and be supported by the organization's mission.
- Don’t hire mercenaries; hire people who want to make a difference.
- Alleviate expressed doubts with information and positivity, instead of condemnation, as far as possible.
- Guide your team, to help them remember what the mission is and to stay focused on it.
- Take advantage of down time for training, development, team-building, brainstorming and other constructive activities.
Developmental Action Plan for being Mission & Future Vision Focused
- LEARN: Read the article, “Mission & Future Vision Focused” in the LEADx library.
- LEARN: Read the article, “Communicating a Corporate Vision to Your Team“, on HBR.org.
- LEARN: Read the article, “Don’t Just Tell Employees Organizational Changes Are Coming — Explain Why“, on HBR.org
- REFLECT: How well do YOU know your company's vision, strategy, and goals? Try to write them down without looking them up.
- REFLECT: Are you bought into the future strategy of the organization? How can you increase your own understanding and commitment?
- REFLECT: Research your competitors vision, strategy and goals. How are they the same or different from your organization's?
- PRACTICE: Write out how you would describe your company's plan for the future; make it compelling and memorable.
- SCHEDULE: Schedule a team meeting for a “Vision & Strategy Review”, or add that agenda topic to an upcoming team meeting
- APPLY: Meet with team and ask their understanding of the company vision, strategy and goals; use activities to anchor an accurate representation.
- APPLY: Include a tie-back to vision in at least three of your communications this week (e.g., team mtg, recognition, presentation).
- APPLY: Use 1-on-1 meetings to explore how team members' work aligns to bigger strategic goals.
- MEASURE: Evaluate how well each team member describes the mission, vision, and strategy of the organization.
Additional Points for Thought
Fulfilling an organization's mission requires commitment from team members to a common purpose and the collective will to move well together in the direction of leadership's vision. Employees must share, if not of the fullness of the leader's passion, at least a strong sense of the value of the group's contribution to the mission and the potential rewards and consequences that are at stake for all stakeholders in the success or failure of the mission. Beyond these essential psychological arrangements, a certain unshakable tenacity of a leader to persist against all adversity is the most powerful force an organization brings to bear on the effort to realize the vision of management. So, above all, the plain hard work and that certain kind of stick-to-it-iveness are the secrets to realizing any business leader's vision. Therefore, prepare to meet all resistance with resolve, all obstacles with determination and creativity, collaborate freely, and be willing to leave behind ideas and players that do not well serve your vision.
Suggested Additional Resources
- Kolowich, L (1990) 17 Truly Inspiring Company Vision and Mission Statement Examples, Hubspot, Inc., Retrieved on 4-23-19 from: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/inspiring-company-mission-statements.
- Shellenbarger, S (2018, September 17) When You Fear Your Company Has Forgotten Its Principles, Wall Street Journal, Retrieved on 4-23-19 from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-you-fear-your-company-has-forgotten-its-principles-1537198250.
- Taderera, F (2010, May) Principles of Management: Vision, Mission, Strategies, LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, ISBN-13: 978-3838365251, ISBN-10: 9783838365251.
- Hull, P (2012, December 19) Be Visionary. Think Big., Forbes, Retrieved on 4-23-19 from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickhull/2012/12/19/be-visionary-think-big/.
- Scott, C (1993, July) Organizational Vision, Values, and Mission: Building the Organization of Tomorrow, Crisp Learning, ISBN-13: 978-1560522102, ISBN-10: 1560522100.
- Abrahams, J (2004, March) The Mission Statement Book: 301 Corporate Mission Statements from America's Top Companies, (Revised, Subsequent edition), Ten Speed Press, ISBN-10: 1580081320, ISBN-13: 978-1580081320.
Suggested Internet Search Terms
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