Friday, March 13, 2009

Vision shared-vs- Shared vision

"The empires of the future are empires of the mind." — Winston Churchill
I promise to keep this post really short.

First a small exercise, if you are a senior manager in your company, go out and meet few frontline employees, and ask them this simple question: What is our company’s Vision?
Are you surprised with what they have to say? I bet you are…

So, is it important to have a vision for the organization? More importantly having a ‘shared vision’ rather than 'sharing a vision'.
We generally find so-called elaborate ‘vision statements’ adorning the wall in corporate headquarters or maybe briefly mentioned in ‘annual shareholders’ report.
But, is that enough?
A vision is like ‘soul’ of the company; its aspirations, and like north-star, guides it into the future. A vision can only be effective if it is espoused by each and every member of the organization.
Unfortunately, these days many employees believe that their work is simply a chore to perform in return for a paycheck. It is important for top management to ensure that every employee sees their work as a mission, in ‘sync’ with organizational vision. This can be achieved through ‘participative leadership’. 
A clear vision sparks motivation, and drives performance, inturn leading to results. 

I leave you with this thought and wonderful words by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the French pilot and poet who once wrote: “If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
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