A vision is a stated or implicit philosophy. Visioning is a process organizations use to discover or arrive at a vision, a way to answer these questions: What do we value? Why are we doing what we do? Where do we want to be in 30 years? While vision is intangible, its impact is easily seen. The Harvard Business Review found that “a well-articulated vision implemented company-wide had a profoundly positive impact on sustained growth. As a group, companies with a vision were twice as profitable as the S&P 500. The visionary companies earned their investors 17.7% more than the S&P 500 overall.” (1)
The Visioning Process
Arriving at a workable vision is a team process that includes:
Identifying views of the future that incorporate the diverse ways those elements will pay out.
Gathering information about the operating landscape, e.g., competitors, trends, pending legislation.
Assessing the probability of each:
Make recommendations about how the organization should respond.
Be a beacon for guiding adaptation and change required for continual growth.
Serve as the basis to formulate strategy that can be acted on in the future.
Provide a framework to keep all strategic decision making in context.
Throughout the process the team will ask themselves if what they are creating will
motivate people to join an organization – and to stay with it once there.
The distance between the vision and the present creates a dynamic tension that’s like a stretched rubber band. To the extent that the vision is well articulated and shared, you will be drawn toward that vision.
Vision and the Workplace
The vision has implications for the organization’s facilities, and is often the most useful tool for communicating the culture intuitively. Facilities do send a message, and the key is to be intentional about that message. Workplace settings provide clues for new behaviors, and therefore, help move a culture in a new direction. Locating collaborative spaces near the entrance, for example, signals not only that a company values social interaction, connection and collaboration, but also that decisions can happen any time and not just at scheduled meetings in structured settings.
A good, well-articulated vision “infuses you with energy, passion and resourcefulness. It can propel you to accomplish great things… and empower you to push through and beyond difficult times and obstacles.” (2)
While there is value in the visioning process itself, a shared vision has real power because of its ability to achieve alignment. When alignment is achieved, doors seem to open, the right people connect, and serendipity occurs. There is power in vision.
(1) Mark Lipton, “Envisioning Growth,” Information Week’s Optimize, Issue 19, May 2003
(2) Phil Glosserman, “Vision: Designing the Future You’re Meant to Have,” 2002, p.1
Jennifer Binder is a Business Development Manager at Herman Miller, a recognized innovator in contemporary interior furnishings. Herman Miller partners with industry leaders to create high-performing workplace settings that deliver an elevated experience, and helps organizations achieve their strategic goals. Jennifer helps clients create an optimal workplace specifically tailored for their success.