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Vision, Organization, and the Leader

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Kanglei Meng

on 12 May 2016

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Transcript of Vision, Organization, and the Leader

What is a VISION?
Vision, Organization, and the Leader
The role of Vision in leading toward a strong future

An idea or an image of a more desirable future for the organization.
A realistic, credible, attractive future for your organization
A mental model that contains an image of a future-changed organization co-aligned with a future-changed environment.
A signpost pointing the way for all who need to understand what the organization is and where it intends to go.
A one-sentence statement describing the clear and inspirational long-term desired change resulting from an organization or program’s work.
A sense-making mechanism that leaders use to explain the strategic direction required of the organization.
WKU Vision Statement
WKU: a Leading American University with International Reach

Properties of a Vision
Appropriate for the organization and for the times

Sets standards of excellence and reflects high ideas

Clarifies purpose and direction

Inspires enthusiasm and encourages commitment

Well articulated and easily understood

Reflects the uniqueness of the organization

Ambitious; represents undisputed progress and expands organization’s horizons

Technical Aspects of Vision
Your vision should clearly communicate what you are working to achieve in a way that people can
remember it
be inspired
, and
this to others.

Effective/Ineffective Visions
Effective visions are grounded in positive values that reflect an aspiration for growth and long-term change.

Ineffective visions call for maintaining the status quo in the face of environmental changes.

What Vision is NOT
The Right Vision
An idea so energizing that in effect it jump-starts the future by calling forth the skills, talents, and resources to make it happen

Advantages of the Right Vision
Attracts commitment and energizes people

Creates meaning in employees’ lives

Establishes a standard of excellence

Bridges the present and the future

Helps people make smart decisions

Decisions are made with end result in mind

Important for leaders because leadership is about going somewhere

Without a clear vision, an organization becomes a self-serving bureaucracy

Examples of Vision Statements
Oxfam: A just world without poverty (5)

National MS Society: A world free of MS (5)

Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a decent place to live (10)

The Nature Conservancy: Our vision is to leave a sustainable world for future generations. (11)

San Diego Zoo: To become a world leader at connecting people to wildlife and conservation. (12)

Feeding America: Equality for everyone. (3)

Teach for America: One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education. (16)

Oceana: Oceana seeks to make our oceans as rich, healthy, and abundant as they once were. (14)

Vision Audit

Ask Yourself:
Does the organization have a clearly stated vision? If so, what is it?

If the organization continues on its current path, where will it be heading over the next 5-10 years? How good would such a direction be?

Do the key people in the organization know where the organization is headed and agree on the direction?
Do the structures, processes, personnel, incentive, and information systems support the current direction of the organization?

Ogden College of Science and Engineering
Ogden College of Science and Engineering is recognized by the high quality and success of its students and graduates that result from personal attention to student professional development through engagement with faculty in projects that expand on classroom instruction.

Checklist for Vision
Is the vision statement longer than 20 words? Can you get it below 15? Below 10?

If not, can you create a vision tagline (2-6 words) that people can more easily remember?

Is your vision statement so clear that people can remember it and communicate it to others?

Does your vision provide a source of impassioned empowerment that motivates followers?

Can your followers see your vision through your behavior so that it builds trust and loyalty and empowers them?

Do you need a new Vision?
1. Is there evidence of confusion about purpose? Are there frequent disagreements among your key people about which customers or clients should have priority, or which services or technologies are the most important to provide, or where the greatest threats and opportunities are likely to be found?

2. Do your employees complain about insufficient challenge or say they are not having fun anymore? Are they pessimistic about the future or cynical about the present?

3. Is the organization losing legitimacy, market position, or its reputation for innovation? Are new competitors better serving your constituents?

4. Does your organization seem out of tune with trends in the environment? Do important outsiders sometimes suggest that your organization may be slipping or not keeping up with changes?

5. Are there signs of a decline in pride within your organization? Are some of your people working only for their paychecks without a real sense of commitment or belonging?

6. Is there excessive risk avoidance, with people abiding by their narrow job descriptions, with few new projects or resisting change?

7. Is there an absence of a shared sense of progress or momentum? Do your employees question whether they have an attractive future with the organization?

8. Is there a hyperactive rumor mill, with people constantly trying to find out through the grapevine? Do people truly trust and respect top management?

A Mission Statement
A written declaration of an organization’s core purpose and focus

Something to be accomplished
A mission asks:
Why does my department exist?

A vision asks:
Where do I see my department going?

WKU Mission Statement
Western Kentucky University prepares students to be productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen-leaders of a global society. It provides research, service and lifelong learning opportunities for its constituents. WKU is responsible for stewarding a high quality of life for those within its reach.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Vision: All lives have equal value (5)

Mission: Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, we focus on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.

Vision is defined as a clear, distinctive, and specific view of the future that is usually connected with strategic decisions for the organization.

A thriving organization will have a vision that is succinct, understandable, and indicative of the direction that the company wants to head in the future.

Leaders are essential for communicating the vision of the organization and promoting the vision through the decisions they make and the strategies they pursue.

Communicating the Vision



Rewards and Support

A prophecy

A mission


True or False

Static, enunciated once for all time

Constraint on actions (except for those inconsistent with the vision)
Visioning and Leadership
Roles of Leader in Visioning
Change agent
Change agent
Simple dialog; public presentations; social media; letters; pamphlets; posters
Publicize the vision
Generate trust and consensus
Engage wide constituencies
Listen carefully and negotiate skillfully

Personify the vision
How you make and honor commitments
How you speak in formal and informal settings
What you express an interest in and the questions you ask
How you organize your staff and your physical surroundings
When you choose to act and how you make your actions known

Make investment decisions and other organizational changes
Think strategically
Set specific goals and objectives tied to timeline
Identify existing capital
Timeline for implementation strategy
Identify and Build partnerships (if needed)
Alter the organizational climate
Overcome resistance to change and adapt the organizational climate to the new agenda
Who acts friendly, open, sympathetic, and helpful toward subordinates
Treats them fairly
Shows respect
Shows concern for others' needs and feelings
Does things to advance their careers
Provides recognition and equitable rewards
Allows participation in making decisions when appropriate

In the United States, we seek to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

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