There’s no shortage of talk about strategy. But behind every good strategy, there must be a clear vision – after all, we all need a destination before mapping out our journey’s route. So, on top of managing the day-to-day and adjusting the strategy, how can leaders ensure they don’t neglect to manage the vision?
An organisation’s vision should be its North Star. It needs to be the aspiration that everyone strives to meet. In other words, it needs to help managers think beyond the daily details and think ahead to the type of future they wish to achieve.
So essential is a leader’s vision that many CEO’s are either marked by their lack of it when they fail or they are exalted for it when they succeed.
At any stage of your leadership career, managing the vision and ensuring that it remains the guiding light is vital. So, here are three ways leaders can manage the organisation’s vision:
Align everything to your vision
The Golden Thread Model provides an excellent visual on how to practically align all activities to the organisation’s vision. It represents the link between vision, analysis, systems and people, amounting to a shared understanding of how the vision, goals and values of the organisation relate to daily work.
By using this model, leaders enable the development of clear metrics which align business goals with measures of success and ensures that individuals are aware of and accountable for their contribution. This makes it easier to drive business success as everyone in the organisation is heading in the same direction.
Motivate through the vision
In addition to drawing direct relationships between the vision, strategy and metrics for success the model also encourages the creation of team and individual objectives that tie back to the vision. This is important for maintaining lasting motivation. Unlike hitting targets, aiming to move the organisation closer to the vision takes incremental steps and the cooperation of all. That means your teams will aim to complete a marathon rather than running a sprint.
Leaders should, therefore, be conscious of providing their teams with an update on how their individual or team efforts bring the whole closer to its vision.
Tell compelling stories about the company’s future
The reality for leaders is that not everyone will be driven by metrics or inspired by stats. Vision-focused leaders appreciate the importance of shaping a powerful and compelling story of their companies’ futures. Beyond crafting an inspiring narrative, it also serves as a powerful engagement builder. Stories have the power to turn aspirations into reality – even if it’s just in the mind. That, in turn, gives employees the clarity they need to visualise something that often can be too abstract and feel out of reach.
Sources (these articles are available to IML ANZ members via Leadership Direct):
- Ready, D & Truelove, ES 2011, ‘Purpose and the Power of Collective Ambition’, Business Strategy Review, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 17–23.
- Evans, J 2015, ‘The Golden Thread: Linking Strategy to Execution’.