For many years now, I have championed the value of the vision-driven organisation and vision-driven planning. And now, I see more and more examples where the principles of vision-driven planning being used in business affairs, organisational structuring, customer service, team development, and even in day to day personal living.
So what is a vision-driven organisation or business? It is the principle of aligning everything that you do and believe in, your core values, organisational structure, goals and objectives and strategies, towards the ultimate achievement of a vision.
Oprah calls it The Secret at work - I have always maintained it is about creating a corporate culture that takes the hard effort out of any organisation. The principle is based around creating a vision of where you want to be by exploring the picture from different "perspectives", where, from each perspective you ask the question, "on achievement of my vision, how will the business look from the perspective of...."
It is crucial that these perspectives are chosen as those most critical to the achievement of your vision - who or what is your vision "for"? Examples of perspectives that might be critical to the achievement of your vision are - the perspectives of the client or customer, the team, the people, the perspective of learning and developing, the perspective of your systems and key business processes, the financial perspective, the perspective of the stakeholders (or owners), and from the perspective of the service or product.
In each, you ask yourself where, who, why and what, and gradually derive a picture of where you want to be, why you want to be there, who you are to people, and what you will be doing. This vision needs to be verbalised in a statement that is short, succinct, and yet which is also inspirational and a call to arms.
Your vision then needs to be quantified by asking, again from each perspective, what you need to become in each perspective in order to have achieved your vision. For example "if I were to achieve my vision how must I behave to customers?" or "In order to achieve my vision what must I give the stakeholders?"
Once clearly set out and quantified, and communicated, every decision can be made by reference to the vision - which of the two candidates shall I hire? The one that most fits what the vision demands he/she does. Shall I open another branch or concentrate on where I am? Does the vision see geographic expansion or strength in specialisation?
A well defined vision also creates the work atmospehere or corporate culture. From the vision you can induce "core values" - those values that are not just important to you but indeed so important that you would rather close the business down than sacrifice. Any team member who is not aligned to those core values, and by inference the vision, will feel uncomfortable and will eventually leave or be asked to leave, leaving behind team members who subscribe to the achievement of your vision.
So back to "The Secret" and our personal lives. See how this simple business principle also applies?