June 2009 - Imagine a Vision and Make it Real
Imagine a Vision and Make it Real
By Baldwin Tom
When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created their first Apple computers, they imagined that there would be an Apple computer in every home. That was an audacious picture of a future vision! Their mission, thereafter, was to make that vision a reality.
Bill Gates envisioned Microsoft dominating the world market. Microsoft continues to make that vision real.
A compelling vision is a powerful focal point to inspire efforts within an organization. A vision depicts a desired future for the organization. It becomes the super goal toward which the organization works as it carries out its mission. It is about what one wants to become, a lofty destination.
Successful leaders have a picture of a desired future – a vision – that they share with their employees. They use it to engage and to add meaning to daily work.
While having a vision can be a powerful tool to inspire extraordinary effort, it can also be a hollow statement if it is not shared with employees and, especially, if not acted on.
The balance of this article describes how to convert a vision to tangible actions for the organization’s personnel that becomes meaningful for the organization.
Imagine a customer reading the following vision tagline from a Website: "to be the first called when a business needs help."
The first thing that may come to the customer’s mind might be that this company (First Call) is a capable one, has good people and knows much about their areas. They must have breadth of knowledge and experiences, they must be smart and intelligent, and they are a confident firm. Being the first called also suggests that they may be a leader in their field with best practice capabilities.
What might the customer expect in a visit to First Call? The expectation might be that the personnel will be friendly, confident, informative, and responsive. The activity in the office will exude energy and imply a successful, quality oriented, customer centric business. The impression might be that this business has well defined processes, clear methods, and customer tested approaches.
What might the customer expect of First Call’s products and services? One might not be surprised to find that they are the best of class and of fair value. What about the governance and structure of such a stellar organization? There would be little doubt a visitor might expect the structure to support performance excellence, that there is recognition and rewards for a job well done.
The questions inherent in the above example are presented here together with commentary on this unique approach to make a vision real for everyone in an organization.
If one has a public vision statement and is unaware what the customer "sees" in their mind, then there will be a disconnect between what the customer expects and what First Call delivers. In order to be fully competitive in the marketplace, what is said and what is done needs to be coherent and fully aligned.
When one compares what the customer expects and what is currently being provided, will there be gaps in delivering on the expectations?
Note that this exercise provides a way to consider what might be perceived as the ideal against what is the current state.
This process touches on every aspect of an organization and every member of the business. Such comparisons will help identify key gaps in product/service delivery at all stages of the creation process.
What is needed to close gaps between the desired state and the current one?
In order to make a vision real, it requires the participation and input from most — if not all — members of the company.
When this is done, every member of the company will fully appreciate the power of the vision made real. More important, each member will know better their contribution to the success of the organization.
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Page updated: October 16, 2023
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