1 Visioning Visions are simply the fist step in the goal setting and planning process. While mission statements guide the organization in its day-to-day operations, visions provide a sense of direction in the long term -- they provide the means to the future. In "Leaders," Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus conclude, "Leaders articulate and define what has previously remained implicit or unsaid; then they invent images, metaphors, and models that provide a focus for new attention. By so doing, they consolidate or challenge prevailing wisdom. In short, an essential factor in leadership is the capacity to influence and organize meaning for the members of the organization." They continue, "Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing. The difference may be summarized as activities of vision and judgment -- effectiveness verses activities of mastering routine -- efficiency." Bennis and Nanus describe leaders as "creating dangerously" -- they change the basic metabolism of the organization. Top Peters wrote that leaders, "must create new worlds. And then destroy them; and then create anew (Thriving On Chaos)." What is interesting, is that Peters defines visions as aesthetic and moral -- as well as strategically sound. Which would sort of knock Hitler's quest of the world as being a vision. Visions that are merely proclaimed, but not lived convincingly are nothing more than mockeries of the process. Vision Statement Examples "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success." - explorer Ernest Shackleston in a 1890 job ad for the first Antarctic expedition. "When I'm through...everyone will have one." - Henry Ford on democratizing the automobile "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth." - President Kennedy, May 25, 1961 "There's something going on here...something that is changing the world...and this is the epicentre." Steve Job of Apple Computers during its initial start-up 2 "Quality, hard work, and commitment - The stuff America is made of. Our goal is to be the best. What else is there? If you can find a better car, buy it." - Lee Iacocca when he was chairman of Chrysler Corporation "2000 stores by the year 2000." - Howard Schultz, of Starbucks Coffee Company "Do it, try it, fix it!" - Wal-Mart's Vision "To strengthen the social fabric by continually democratizing home ownership." - Federal National Mortgage Association, Fannie Mae Exploring the past, illuminating the present and imagining the future" - National Museum of Australia "Empower people through great software, anyplace, any time and on any device." - Microsoft's vision "To provide the best service and lowest fares to the short haul, frequent-flying, point-to-point, non-interlining traveler." - Southwest Airlines' vision "Whirlpool, in its chosen lines of business, will grow with new opportunities and be the leader in an ever-changing global market. We will be driven by our commitment to continuous quality improvement and to exceeding all of our customers' expectations. We will gain competitive advantage through this, and by building on our existing strengths and developing new competencies. We will be market driven, efficient and profitable. Our success will make Whirlpool a company that worldwide customers, employees and other stakeholders can depend on." - Wirlpool's vision A Framework For Managing Discontinuities In its simplest form, discontinuity in the work place is change. A popular change framework is (Knoster, Villa, & Thousand, 2000): Vision -> Skills -> Incentives -> Resources -> Action Plan = Change, A vision is the starting point for goals it provides the launch pad for action and the parameters for problem-solving. Once a vision is established, it is necessary to build the skills needed to realize the vision. Incentives help to motivate the workforce to acquire and maintain new skills. Building "buy-in" engages them -- it means they are now stake- holders. Adequate resources allows the vision to be achieved. Action planning is a continuous thread across all phases -- it is change process. Although presented as the final component of the change 3 framework, it should be viewed as the foundation of the systems change process. If any of the steps are missing, something will go wrong: Skills -> Incentives -> Resources -> Action Plan = Confusion Vision -> Incentives -> Resources -> Action Plan = Anxiety Vision -> Skills -> Resources -> Action Plan = Gradual Change Vision -> Skills -> Incentives -> Action Plan = Frustration Vision -> Skills -> Incentives -> Resources = Treadmill Effect (false starts) For more on the visioning process, go to Leading. Reference [Tags: Mission Statements visions ] Knoster, T., Villa, R., & Thousand, J. (2000). A framework for thinking about systems change. In R. Villa & J. Thousand (Eds.), Restructuring for caring and effective education: Piecing the puzzle together (pp. 93-128). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. LEADERSHIP IN PUBLIC AND NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS: Good to Great and the Social Sectors By Andrea Useem Churches, schools, non-profits, public agencies – all are essential but the complaints about them are familiar. They are slow to integrate technology. Unresponsive to individual needs. Financially unaccountable. If you‟re heard those complaints, you‟ve also heard the commonly prescribed remedy. Those organizations should become more like businesses: dynamic, responsive, financially sound. According to Jim Collins, the prescription would be right – improvement is necessary – but the metaphor would be wrong. Those organizations don‟t need to become more like businesses. They need to become great organizations. So writes Collins in Good to Great and the Social Sectors, a 33- page monograph released last year. Collins said he was inspired to write this extra chapter for his book, Good to Great (published in 2001), when he learned that more than half the 4 people who read his book belonged to non-business organizations. After conducting new research, Collins has tweaked his Good to Great concepts so they ring true for social sector organizations. He boils the content down to five main points: 1. Defining “Great” – Calibrating success without business metrics. Like businesses, social organizations need to measure performance. Unlike a business, however, a social organization cannot point to easily quantifiable bottom-line profits. Some make the mistake of focusing on fund-raising, but raising funds is not the ultimate goal of, say, an environmental protection non- profit. Excellent performance in that case means actually protecting the environment. How to measure such an amorphous goal? Well, writes Collins, just do it. Push your organization to create multiple measures of success. 2. Level 5 Leadership – Getting things done within a diffuse power structure. Leaders of social organization wield less raw power than a business-world CEO. They must contend with complex constituencies, such as unionized work-forces, membership bodies or elected trustees. As a result, social leaders exercise what Collins calls “legislative” leadership, relying “more upon persuasion, political currency and shared interests” to make the right things happen. This distinction leads Collins to the assertion that “more true leadership” may be found in the social sector. “True leadership only exists if people follow when they have the freedom not to.” 3. First Who – Getting the right people on the bus, within social sector constraints. Excellence derives first of all from human capital, Collins insists. How can a social sector leader find and retain the best people while constrained by factors like tenure, unions, and relatively low pay? Do your best, Collins says. If it‟s hard to get the “wrong people” off the bus through firing, then double your efforts to get the right people on through hiring. If you have only small salaries to offer, then find people who are not primarily motivated by money. Here‟s where the social sector can shine, argues Collins. A noble purpose – such as feeding the hungry or creating great art – “has the power to ignite passion and commitment.” 4. The Hedgehog Concept – Rethinking the economic engine without a profit motive. Greatness means forward single-mindedly, like a hedgehog, Collins argued in Good to Great. The “hedgehog concept” revolved around three questions: What are you deeply passionate about? What can you be best in the world at? And what drives your economic engine? Collins discovered that the last question needed tinkering for the social sector, where money is just one fuel for a larger “resource” engine. In a volunteer-driven organization, for example, people donating time can be as important, if not more, than people donating money. Building brand in a marketplace of organizations can be equally valuable. 5 5. Turning the Flywheel – Building momentum by building the brand. When Hurricane Katrina struck last year, a sympathetic public overwhelmed the American Red Cross with donations. Was it the best organization to deliver assistance? Not necessarily, as it turned out. But the organization‟s well-known name gave the public “an easy answer to the question, „How can I help?‟” writes Collins. A strong brand reputation provides momentum for a virtuous circle of success, what Collins calls “turning the flywheel.” In business, rational capital markets provide this momentum: when a company succeeds financially, capital pours in. In the social sector, a solid reputation, built on proven results and emotional pull, draws in the funding and opportunities required for long-term success. Collins closes his monograph with the observation that “people often obsess on systemic constraints.” It might seem that leaders of social organizations face particularly difficult circumstances: shoestring budgets or volunteer workforces. But Collins says no: both business and social sector organizations have a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. And ultimately, he says, it‟s not the environment that matters but the will towards excellence. How else to explain why some institutions thrive while others wither, even though they face the same challenges? “Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.” Note: Andrea Useem writes about religion for the Washington (D.C.) Examiner, and the Religion News Service. Her articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Dallas Morning News and other newspapers. Based in Reston, Va., she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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