Setting a vision is critical for a change process to be successful. Generally speaking, a vision provides an organization with a sense of direction and purpose and provides a framework for the goals and mission of the organization. If it is well written, it should embrace the identified values of the organization, that is, what is the purpose of existence for the organization (Collins, 2001). Kotter (1996) tells us that there are three important purposes to a good vision. First, a good vision simplifies detailed decision-making. Second, assuming the right people are on the bus (Collins), then, even if initially difficult, a good vision will motivate people to taking the right actions. ...view middle of the document...
Collins suggests leading with questions, not answers, engaging in dialogue and debate opposed to coercion, looking for facts rather than blame and letting facts that cannot be ignored become red-flags that must be addressed. Additionally, Collins offers three guiding questions, to keep the dialogue disciplined. These questions, which guide what Collins refers to as the hedgehog concept are: What are you deeply passionate about? What can you be the best in the world at?, And what drives your economic engine? One could incorporate Collins ideas and questions into Kotter’s specific steps for creating a vision, these are:
1. Start with a first draft, which is often created by a single individual.
2. The draft is to be revised and shaped by the guiding coalition, or larger group of people.
3. The process must include effective teamwork.
4. Include analytical information but also dream big.
5. Recognize that creating a vision is challenging work.
6. Acknowledge this process takes time.
7. The end product sets future direction, yet is flexible, feasible, desirable, and can be conveyed in five minutes or less. Collins supports the idea of flexibility, conveying that the brutal facts must help shape the vision.
Senge suggests that there are potentially five stages to developing a vision, and that an organization must first identify where they are at in the process, then proceed from there, with the stage of co-creating being the most desirable. The five stages are: (p.314)
Telling: The "boss" knows what the vision should be, and the organization is going to have to follow it.
Selling: The "boss" knows what the vision should be, but needs the organization to "buy in" before proceeding.
Testing: The "boss" has an idea about what the vision should be, or several ideas,...