“We shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T.S.Eliot, Four Quarters.
In our last blog post we discussed the value of vision and how powerful it is for an organisation to have a strong vision. In this blog post we have compiled some facts, tips and anecdotes for you to enjoy that will continue to give us an understanding about building a vision for our organisations.
Smile & ponder
Someone once said that doers get to the top of the oak tree by climbing it. Dreamers sit on an acorn.
While arriving at and articulating your vision requires more than simply dreaming, in the long run the vision will only become a reality through action – and that will require climbing, not sitting!
It’s a fact
On 6 June 1844, George Williams and a group of his young friends met in a small room over a draper’s shop in St Paul’s Churchyard in London. They were very concerned about the welfare of others like themselves – shop assistants living away from home without any Christian influence. They had a vision, and they prayed and planned – and from that meeting the YMCA, the Young Men’s Christian Association, was born.
Little did the visionary George Williams and his friends realise what they were about to create for other young men in the future. In the decades that followed, their unselfish work and great determination saw the YMCA establish itself throughout the world.
Everything worthwhile starts with a vision of an achievable future.
Why you need a vision…
In ‘Corporate Reputations’, Grahame Dowling writes that vision statements are useful to organisations because they can help to, for example:
- motivate and focus all employees on a common superordinate goal
- define the boundaries of the business
- provide an overall unifying theme for advertising and publicity
- help differentiate the organisation from its competitors.
It is important to list objectives such as these before setting out to design any vision statement.
Preliminaries to writing
Before setting out on the path of building a vision statement, you should, according to Graheme Dowling in ‘Corporate Reputations’, identify the following factors and outline how they impact on your organisation’s activities:
- The broad environment within which operations are carried out, namely, economic conditions, social factors, legal restraints and competitive conditions.
- The organisation’s role, or unique contribution to its parent company, government, or community in which it operates.
- The fit between the organisation’s objectives, its distinctive competences, and the key success factors for operating in its chosen markets.
- Future trends in the operating environment.
- The basic customer needs served by the organisation.
These five factors define the broad constraints within which your organisation currently operates, and which will shape its future activities, they write. They reflect the ‘fit’ between the organisation’s overall objectives, its strengths, and the opportunities and constraints inherent in the marketplace.
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