To achieve results, think vision and strategy

April 22nd, 2014 @   -  No Comments

Visioning is defined by The Business Dictionary as a “Mental process in which images of the desired future (goals, objectives, outcomes) are made intensely real and compelling to act as motivators for the present action.”

A clear vision is critical for the organization. If we do not know where we are going, any plan or strategy that someone dreams up will do. Lack of clear vision leads to people pulling in different directions, siloed cultures, and ineffective operations. This results in frustration, stagnation, employee disengagement and potential loss of market share.

It is not uncommon to find a well written vision statement proudly displayed on an organization’s web site and posted on the company’s walls; but, no proper strategy behind it. These vision statements are as useful as a chocolate teapot.

How do we go about developing a great vision that will achieve its intended purpose, and keep it current in the fast moving environment of constantly changing customer expectations, technology, and market forces?

Here are my top five considerations for developing or updating your vision:

Set clear objectives

You can write vision statement that says you want to be the leading organisation in your field, the partner of choice, or provide the best customer experience; but, if you can’t translate this into clear set of objectives that are achievable within a set period of time, this vision will not be much use in taking you where you want to be. A good vision must be achievable within the foreseeable future, usually three to five years.

Think strategy

You need to develop the strategy that will allow you to achieve these clearly articulated objectives. A strategy is a set of actions that will take you where you want to be. This is a complex process that needs to consider the market dynamics including customer expectations, evolving regulations, and technological innovations. You also need to take into account the dynamics inside your organisation. This includes employees, who are motivated by their competencies, market forces, and career expectations. It is essential to get everyone aligned behind the strategy, from senior management to the front line employees who deliver the product or service to the customer.

Strategy evolves

We live in a world of change and uncertainty. Your strategy should be flexible enough to deal with the unpredictable change that may occur along the way. How would you deal with unexpected opportunities, new regulations, or new competition? The strategy needs to be continuously reviewed and adapted to the new circumstance. In some markets, it may be wise to review every 3 to 6 months to fine-tune as necessary.

Involve everyone

The people who will implement the strategy and deliver the vision are those who are close to the ground; those who are dealing with changing customer requirements or technological innovations and market forces. In order to ensure you have the total picture, create a two-way process where people constantly provide feedback to senior management.

Adopt continuous market learning

To continue to deliver excellent results to their stakeholders, organisations need to continuously learn from the market and adapt to its demands. Ask these questions regularly as part of that learning process:

  • What are the top activities that will give us the highest return on our invested resources?
  • Have our most rewarding activities improved or weakened over the past three years?
  • What are the main competitive advantages in our market? Is it innovation, volume, or customer service? What are we doing to improve our competitive advantages?
  • How prepared are we to deal with competition that comes from unconventional sources?
  • Is there a consensus among the leadership of our organization about the future of the industry?
  • Have we considered all the scenarios for the future of our industry? Are we ready for these scenarios?
  • How are we developing our people? Do they have the right competencies and the right level of engagement to take us where we want to be? 

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