Developing a vision is not your regular meeting or discussion. A vision draws a direct line from the place you are to the place you want to be. Obstacles are expected and vary. From structural changes, to leadership styles, operational planning, to the merging of cultures. It all depends on how you look at it. When you pursue it with passion, these obstacles are mere challenges that need to be overcome. It is beyond the day-to-day reality. It is a challenge that is fun.
1. Let everyone develop their personal vision for the group/organization. Ask them questions like the following:
What do you think are the challenges we are facing? What is our objective?
What opportunities do you think exist? What opportunities can you create?
If your vision would materialize, how would you feel?
What would it feel like to work and live under those new circumstances?
Why is this exercise important?
What do you appreciate in attempting this?
2. Let everyone present their ideas and summarize what the group shares and supports. Concentrate on keywords, slogans, and images.
3. A healthy discussion with consensus should end you with a meaningful statement.
4. Assess the consequences of the content and wording of the vision. Think in terms of priorities, restraints, operations, and culture.
5. Congratulations! Your vision is ready!
6. Translate the vision into a mission with a practical approach. Outline key objectives, priorities, actions, and targets. Analyse the implementation impact on the current system. Do a reality check. Is it practical, and can it be implemented? What new behavioural change will it demand? Link that clearly to the vision.
7. Develop a communication approach for the vision:
Make it known to everyone inside/outside the organization.
Ensure everyone's support. Garner the support of even those who could not participate in the creation of the vision.
Translate the vision into visible action items.
Give the vision form, name, statement, and a symbol that is understood universally.
Keep the vision alive by living up to it.
Walk the talk and talk the walk.
Be open to reactions, both positive and negative. Incorporate changes as and when required. Mold the vision into a living reality.
You will feel a need for change consciously or subconsciously when you are not getting desired results, and results are achieved basis the strength of one's vision. Often people start a change process unaware of the fact that their acts are based on a vision. You may have been toying with a thought or an idea for a long time, unable to take it to a logical end. To you, it is so clear and obvious that you assume others understand it too. However, others may not have given it any thought at all let alone develop their own personal visions for better or worse. For successful and effective implementation, a vision must be explicit, practical, and obvious to all. Only then will people be aligned to it and feel motivated to live for it.
Bob: Interesting Walter! That's a cool practical approach. I quite like it. Can I have a copy and try the exercise with my team? Walter: Of course! Here you go, pal. But make no mistake, implementing a new vision will mean change and that will surely ruffle up feathers! Bob: So what, let's do it! I am game for it.