What is a vision?

Your organisation’s vision lays out an inspiring, long-term description of the future that you want.  Creating a vision is the first step in moving towards that future, it sets the direction of travel for your business or team.  It should be ambitious and describe how you will impact the world around you.  A vision can be created for the whole organisation, business unit, team or project.

Your vision sits alongside your organisation’s mission and strategy:

  • Mission: what we are we trying to achieve – our purpose.  It answers the question: why do we exist?
  • Vision: where do we want the organisation to be in the future – your dreams and hopes for the future and the guiding star of your strategy.
  • Strategy: sets out how we will achieve the vision and mission.

Why is it important to have a vision?

The vision describes a future that the whole organisation can work towards.  It should inspire and energise so that everyone in the organisation is excited to come to work.  The vision can help motivate the team, attract and retain talent, increase engagement and improve strategic decision making.  It can be very useful for identifying the wrong path – thus saving time and money on ideas that are not aligned.

A checklist for creating a vision:

  • Identify who you are writing the vision for – company, business unit, team etc.
  • Pick a time frame – 5-10 years is common. Look to the future – forward thinking is needed at all times.
  • Find example vision statements of companies that you admire.
  • Create your vision as a team.
  • Understand where the organisation is today – what are you proud of, where have your successes been, what are you good at, your values, and aspirations.
  • Get plenty of ideas onto a flip chart – go for great and big, write from the heart.
  • Consider stakeholders – especially customers. Ensure that your vision is aligned with the value that customers see in your company.  Answer the question:  why does your organisation exist to the outside world?
  • If you are developing a vision for your team or department make sure it is clearly aligned with the wider vision for the whole organisation.
  • In an uncertain world try to have a high-level vision that can accommodate short-term changes in the environment, so that it doesn’t need to be constantly updated.
  • Make sure that the vision is inclusive and all employees can relate to it.
  • Keep the vision simple and easily understood.
  • Create and recreate until you have a finalised version of your vision.
  • Ensure engagement at every level of the organisation – share the vision with all.

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