The opportunity to participate in building the 'Vision' of a company, offers common ground for action, cooperation, growth, innovation, and success. The effect of the number of people participating in developing a vision, is often just as powerful as the results it generates.
Participation leads to collaborative effort and powerful results. When imposed, it is often met with cynicism and opposition. Hence, the attitude towards the 'process' of building a vision is of utmost importance.
Depending on what you have in mind, various groups/people may be involved in the developing of the vision. You could consider including managers, top management, shareholders, selected staff or even all staff.
A good approach would be to first have everyone write their personal vision of the organization. Follow it by healthy discussion, resulting in a commonly agreed upon vision for a certain group or the organization as a whole.
Then put your mind on the employees. What do you need to know about them? What will align them to the vision? Give good thought to the following questions:
What motivates people to work? Do they enjoy coming to work? Do they have job-satisfaction?
What is the co-relation between their motivational levels, and the standards and value-system of the organization? Do you need to change something?
Are people getting growth opportunities? Do such opportunities even exist? Are they clearly visible to them?
What values and standards do the employees live by? And even before that, which ones do you live by?
Danny Boyle, British film director (Slumdog Millionnaire), expressed his vision of India: 'India is a place where you shouldn't try to reorganize things from the Western perspective. You must simply go with the flow. You have to just throw yourself into the cauldron and hope to hit the right notes' (From an interview in September 2008).
We totally agree. Jump in, go with the flow, adapt and formulate your business accordingly. There are no written rules. In our experience, one should adapt the vision to the culture of the country.
Coming around full-circle, what about the vision of that hardware manufacturer in South India?1 They finally did very well indeed. The management demonstrated the company's vision, principles, values and model behaviour constantly. As we researched with them, we received an intriguing remark. "Employees concluded that there's an 'underground cable connection' which 'keeps the place ticking' and at the same time allows space for disharmony and change".
A well-communicated vision that drives people to perform is the journey you want to be part of. Change, imbalance, roadblocks will never deter you. No matter what, you will stay on track, inching towards your goals. True vision gives meaning and direction to jobs, it lights up peoples' imagination, and mobilizes their energies. It is attractive. It is addictive. It is worth-while. It is a win-win situation where both the person and the organization stand to benefit.