Magazine article Management Today

What Is Vision?

Magazine article Management Today

What Is Vision?

Article excerpt

It is not a fad or guru tool but a vital element of best practice.

If a business is going to be successful today, creating a vision is a necessity, not a luxury -- because no organisation can progress without an understanding of where it is going and what it should be trying to achieve.

When a leader's concept of the future lacks imagination or inspiration and becomes dull, bureaucratic or unclear, the company will struggle and his or her abilities will be questioned.

So what is vision? In management terms, the word visioning is used to describe an agreement among directors about the future of their organisation. It requires access to all relevant information, such as the present state of the company and its values. Everyone has some idea of where they are going and what they want to achieve, but their vision is often outdated, short-sighted or too long term. And when people have different visions there is dispute.

To create effective visioning through team-working, organisations must develop a culture that is built on trust and rewards creativity and diversity. Team members must develop a collective sense of responsibility and direction. Effective visioning requires a willingness to consider all the options and to share information needed to develop them. It also demands that staff commit to a plan of action that is in the best interests of the organisation, even if this may result in unwelcome changes.

Building a visioning culture is time-consuming -- it can take three to five years. It can be frustrating when shareholders are demanding a return on their investment or want to sell their stakes in the company, and it seems that a quick fix is needed.

However, vision is not a managerial fad or a guru tool but a fundamental element of best practice for senior executive teams. It provides an effective organisational force, a binding cohesion, initially at senior management levels, but then throughout the organisation, guiding and motivating people's actions.

Vision gives leaders and their companies a sense of direction and purpose, enabling them to allocate resources well, to develop and grow. It unites all the disparate elements of a company -- such as products, pricing and brand -- and helps to formulate an overall strategy. It implies continuity -- a future for both the entity and its employees -- and, if communicated effectively, gives staff clear goals. …

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