I recently read on a business advisor website that a clear vision serves as an anchor for any organisation. Personally, I associate anchors with stop things from moving forward! In any event, on searching further for inspirational vision statements, I realise that the real problem is there is a great deal of confusion about the difference between statements of core purpose and vision statements.
A purpose statement defines the organisation’s reason for being. It is the answer to why the organisation exists and can be a fundamental motivation for people who work within. A good test of purpose is asking the question; what would not happen in your market or business area if you’re organisation or team didn’t exist! We often get surprised and quizzical expressions.
A vision on the other hand is a vision is a picture of future success within a defined timescale. Like purpose, a good vision is also motivational by giving people direction and something to aspire to. It enables purposeful action. A good vision appeals to all, it may be written, drawn (rich picture) or even have a musical element. The use of rich pictures can certainly help to define your vision, make it memorable and create a clear understandable vision for those with visual learning style. We attribute certain meaning and indeed feelings to words depending upon our personal motivational value system – one person’s exiting vision can be another person’s foolhardiness. The history of human discovery is littered with such examples. How about the use of music? Many of our childhood favourite films (Snow White, Lion King for example) use music to create and support a vision.
Strategy encompasses purpose and vision. For us the order is important. Define your purpose, craft your vision and the strategic plan will follow.
Dull, overly complex visions just don’t work because they don’t provide an inspirational focus for the energy and capability of everyone working in the organisation. How about this example
… Develop, deploy and manage a diverse set of scalable and strategic knowledge management tools to serve our customers, improving the possibility of overall satisfaction amongst diverse customer profiles.
The language here is too complicated and disconnects the workforce. Potentially this could lead to cynicism, disbelief and poor engagement rather than focusing employees energy and goodwill.
But how about this from JF Kennedy:
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade…”
These simple words not only enthused NASA with a sense of direction, they also inspired a nation.
Parting thought. How inspiring is your team or organisational vision? Does it make you want to come into work, does it align with your own personal destiny?
We urge you to get creative with your visioning activity. We are happy to help if you wish. If you would like some help in this area feel free to give Rainmaker Coaching a call. We would love to talk.