Vision & Direction

Vision & Direction form the bridge between an organisation's purpose, and its philosophy - its role and its values. The vision of an organisation not only describes what is to be achieved, but to what extent it is to be achieved - how well it is going to be done. It defines us by our desired impact - not only on the customer and our competitors, but also on ourselves as we grow into the ambition we have set for ourselves. Done well, the vision is an inspirational beacon which unites the organisation enthusiasticaly behind a voyage of shared discovery and achievement (sorry for the flowery language - but it is true!); done poorly and it is a bland slogan or wallchart which simply draws cynicism and criticism. Two case studies which illustrate the power of developing and deploying an effective vision are: Aligning Business Focus and Building Full Commitment. (For more on the principles which underpin philosophy, click here).

On the website, vision and values are considered together (under the heading of Philosophy) because they need to be developed together: Your vision is a tangible and practical expression of where your values meet, and it will only be realised to the extent that it remains 'valued' - that people can see how their actions fit in to deliver it and feel rewarded for those actions. The website includes a number of practical tools to assist in this.

The tools that are shown on the 'Vision & Direction' panel of the Big Picture are:

Comprehensive Visioning is simply a means to ensure that your visioning process considers your organisation's future in a sufficiently broad context. Too often, visions fail because they have not been thought out in enough depth to enable people to fully imagine the future and to pursue them congruently. Comprehensive visioning provides a basis for exploring the implications and the dependencies more robustly. Two PowerPoint files (189 KB and 236 KB) on 'developing vision', and 'comprehensive visioning' can be downloaded by clicking on the hightlighted links.

Goal Setting (using the Clothesline approach - 143 KB PowerPoint file) provides a powerful method of reconciling the team's views into a challenging set of practical targets for moving forward. It works by having the team stand along a number line at points where they each individually want the target to be set. Different views are heard, contrasted, questioned and built upon, calmly and concisely - and people move up and down the line as they are influenced by what they have heard - until consensus can be reached.

Leadership is probably THE most powerful means of reinforcing (or sadly marginalising) the vision of the organisation. There are many valuable resources on leadership (and some that unfortunately promote it as a general panacea and alternative to management - which it is not!) and it is not our intention to reproduce these here. With respect to systematic management, you may however find this extract of Chapter 11 of Managing by Design: Leading the Change valuable. (MS Word 184KB).

Pages 94-103 of Managing by Design can be found in Chapter 7, which can be read as a pdf file (104KB) by clicking the link above.

Chapter 2 of How To Build A Better Business can be read as a pdf file by clicking here.

Blank templates of this panel can be found in the Big Picture Storyboard file - these can be used to capture your own experiences and progress in this area (by annotating them either in PowerPoint, or as a printed panel), and then to physically cut and paste them onto the Big Picture to create your own storyboard of implementing systematic management in your organisation.

To explore another secion of the big picture, please click on the relevant area of the image below:

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