What’s 'vision'? Is 'mission' the same thing? Where does 'purpose' come in? Is any of this really important? It’s all in your definition and how you use it!
Reflect on your experience, and the research of Collins and Porras, explained in detail in their seminal book ‘Built to Last’ which we have taken a stage further (which is described in ‘Leading Through Leaders’, 2012) and subsequently informed by Prof Andrew Kakabadse’s 5 year global research project in ‘The Success Formula’ (2015).
In summary though, the most sustainably successful organizations have two elements at their core: a ‘core identity’ and an ‘envisioned future’.
The ‘core identity’ is what defines you. It includes your purpose —your organization’s fundamental ‘reason for being’ which gives meaning to your vision and objectives and to people’s work, sets context, influences choices, and legitimizes requests of colleagues — and your values, the arbiters of decision choices which guide you through the dilemmas of leadership. In the most enduringly successful organizations these don’t change over time and this provides ‘security’ to people in a white-water world. Research also shows that organizations with a clear sense of purpose transition from one CEO to the next with less turbulence. Identity also includes your business ‘doctrine’: the basic principles that guide how your people think and go about business (but not what to think – that’s dogma!), a framework to enable common understanding; and your organizational myths, history, customs and totems and track record of success. Shared identity and the pride that stems from it is vital to organizational cohesion and to getting people to work together as one.
What changes though is your vision or overall aim (as you achieve one, another is set) and your strategic plan to achieve that aim —your envisioned future. Beware - research shows that vision-driven organizations (rather than purpose driven) are dangerously dependent on the leader who created that vision.
An envisioned future comprises both a clear, concise and compelling description of a future ‘state’, as well as a clear, coherent, integrated and simple outline plan to achieve it ―a plan to which all divisional, team and individual tactics, priorities, tasks, objectives, and projects may be aligned. Your plan will evolve as progress is evaluated and circumstances change; this requires an approach to leadership and strategy execution which enables dynamic adaptation.
We can help you to define and shape your core identity, to develop/review/clarify your strategic plan, and build leadership capability in depth and breadth for effective execution.