Why Is Strategic Vision Important

Tina S
Tina S
Feb 2, 2010
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Vision is a widely used term, but not well understood. Perhaps leaders don't understand what vision is, or why it is important.

One strategic leader is quoted as saying, "I've come to believe that we need a vision to guide us, but I can't seem to get my hands on what 'vision' is. I've heard lots of terms like mission, purpose, values, and strategic intent, but no-one has given me a satisfactory way of looking at vision that will help me sort out this morass of words. It's really frustrating!" (Collins and Porras 1991).

Strategic Vision has worldwide experience developing tools to measure decision-making, human behavior, attitudes and perceptions. Its globally relevant, comprehensive theory of human behavior creates the most effective strategies addressing decision-making in product development and communications in the widest variety of fields, including automotive, customer service, government and politics, medicine and healthcare, organizational and jury, travel and leisure, food and beverages, and education.

A managerial imperative exists to look beyond today and think strategically.

The Importance of a Strategic Vision:

1.It attracts commitment and energizes people:

This is one of the primary reasons for having a vision for an organization: its motivational effect. When people can see that the organization is committed to a vision-and that entails more than just having a vision statement-it generates enthusiasm about the course the organization intends to follow, and increases the commitment of people to work toward achieving that vision.

2.It creates meaning in workers' lives:

A vision allows people to feel like they are part of a greater whole, and hence provides meaning for their work. The right vision will mean something to everyone in the organization if they can see how what they do contributes to that vision.

Consider the difference between the hotel service worker who can only say, "I make beds and clean bathrooms," to the one who can also say, "I'm part of a team committed to becoming the worldwide leader in providing quality service to our hotel guests." The work is the same, but the context and meaning of the work is different.

3.It establishes a standard of excellence:

A vision serves a very important function in establishing a standard of excellence. In fact, a good vision is all about excellence.

A vision so characterized by lack of a striving for excellence would not motivate or excite anyone about that organization. The standard of excellence also can serve as a continuing goal and stimulate quality improvement programs, as well as providing a measure of the worth of the organization.

4.It bridges the present and the future:

The right vision takes the organization out of the present, and focuses it on the future. It's easy to get caught up in the crises of the day, and to lose sight of where you were heading. A good vision can orient you on the future, and provide positive direction.

5. A proactive approach:

A business vision is basically a proactive approach towards business, which basically means that you will not allow outside factors to hamper your success. By formulating a vision for a successful business and revealing it to your employees and the public, you give your customers and yourself the conviction and ability to act on your beliefs. Sooner or later, your business will turn into the kind of company every customer is looking for.

6. Reflects the uniqueness of the organization:

A good vision reflects the uniqueness of the organization, its distinctive competence, what it stands for, and what it is able to achieve.

This is where the leaders of an organization need to ask themselves, "What is the one thing we do better than anyone else? What is it that sets us apart from others in our area of business?"

A good example of a visioning process refocusing a company on its core competencies is Sears. A few years ago, Sears had expanded into areas far a field from its original business as a retailer.

Poor performance led Sears to realize that they could not compete with financial services companies whose core business was in that area, so they dropped that service and eliminated other aspects of their business not related to retailing. Interestingly, Sears' primary competitor is Wal-Mart, an organization with a very clear and compelling vision. Wal-Mart is very clear about their vision, and has focused on specific areas where they can be the industry leader. The key is finding what it is that your organization does best. Focus your vision there.

7. Inspires enthusiasm and encourages commitment:

A good vision inspires enthusiasm and encourages commitment. An inspiring vision can help people in an organization get excited about what they're doing, and increase their commitment to the organization. The computer industry is an excellent example of one characterized by organizations with good visions. A recent article reported that it is not unusual for people to work 80 hour weeks, and for people to be at work at any hour of the day or night.

A vision is the desired future state for the organization; the strategic plan is how to get from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. An organization must and can develop a strategic plan that includes specific and measurable goals to implement a vision.

A comprehensive plan will recognize where the organization is today, and cover all the areas where action is needed to move toward the vision. In addition to being specific and measurable, actions should clearly state who is responsible for their completion. Actions should have milestones tied to them so progress toward the goals can be measured.

Author's note: Ref:Strategic Management, Charles W L Hill, Gareth R Lones
Keywords: strategic,vision,management,organization,mission,goal,commitment,workers,importance,imperative,decision,development,politics,effective,Collins and Porras,perception.

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