Management Matters: How’s Your Vision?

Do you want to be world’s best services company and to be recognized as the best? Maybe you would rather be recognized by your customers as their best supplier. Or perhaps it’s your goal to have your organization grow to be the region’s largest through excellent and abundant customer referral. Any one of these can be a pretty captivating vision but unless you plan to do this all on your own, you will need to export that vision and share it with others.

Think of a vision as a long-term picture of what your business, division or department can become. A vision expresses a view of a

  • realistic
  • credible
  • attractive
  • future

for the organization, department or team - a condition that is better in some important ways than what now exists. It is a target that beckons. A vision always refers to a future state, a condition that does not presently exist and never existed before. With a vision, you as the leader provides the all-important bridge from the present to the future of the organization.

*     One of the major functions of a vision is to align people with different views. The differences in our experiences, functional training, information and perceptions lead us to want to move in different directions. Creating a vision is a tool that allows a leader to secure commitment to a common direction so that change and improvement prevail over inertia.

*     A second major function of vision is to capture the attention of the people who need to work hard to achieve the vision. An effective vision galvanizes others. It captures their attention at an emotional level. It gives people the sense that their work has a higher purpose - a sense of significance that transcends the day-to-day routine.

*     A third function is tofocus people on the long-term. Competitive, financial, and political pressures tend to make people and organizations concentrate on short-term tasks and deadlines. The vision provides perspective by looking ahead.

Your vision should be clear and concise. In fact it should be so concise that it is a single sentence that everyone can remember and repeat to others. How will you know you’ve got a solid vision statement? Determine if it meets the following criteria:

Promotes Alignment by:

  • Expressing a guiding purpose, a core purpose, a unifying goal, or an umbrella that all other goals fit under
  • Providing direction while allowing broad scope for flexibility and initiative
  • Giving a long-range perspective for the possibilities
  • Being easy to communicate with, simple to understand, and concise

Promotes Commitment by:

  • Challenging, energizing and inspiring
  • Picturing a future that is realistic, credible, possible and yet a stretch.
  • Giving greater meaning to day-to-day tasks

Provides a Purpose That:

  • Outlasts individuals and existing leaders
  • Goes beyond individual self-interest
  • Is not financial; not an MBO objective
  • Is perceived as good, desirable and beneficial to customers, markets, other employeesand yourself
  • Engenders pride in the organization, the team and the individual

There are many different ways to accomplish business objectives but the most effective leaders devote a lot of time, attention and energy to conceiving and realizing a long-range view of the future. Make sure that your vision is 20 20.

Joni Daniels is Principal of Daniels & Associates, a management training and development consulting practice that specializes in developing human resources in the areas of leadership and management training, interpersonal effectiveness and efficiency, skill- building, and organizational development interventions. With over 20 years of experience, she is a sought after resource for Fortune 500 clients, professional organizations, higher education, media outlets and business publications. Joni can be reached at

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