Unified Vision: Vision is management’s number one priority

Creatinging a Unified Vision is managment's number one priority

Written by Ian Richardson

November 6, 2023

Unified Vision: Vision is management’s number one priority

By Ian Richardson, Principal Consultant, Fox & Crow Group

Unified Vision

I’m a big fan of Peter Drucker. Many people, myself included, refer to him as the “Godfather of Management.” His impact on the management space are immeasurable. If you haven’t read his essays by the Harvard Business Review, do so.

One of his essays goes into detail on managing knowledge workers.

I’ll summarize here:

The primary driver of productivity is the use of “knowledge.” That knowledge resides with the worker themselves. Services business needs different versus those used in manafacturing.

One of the key concepts he shared is that vision is management’s number one priority.

What does that mean exactly?

Vision is tricky topic for a lot of leaders. Too often, I find it is “absent” from an organization. There is a growth statement, for example, “We will grow to $5M in revenue.”

Sometimes there might even be a catchy tagline, like “To 5 in 5.”  Those make it easy to recall and rally around a longer SMART goal (Grow to $5M in revenue in the next 5 years).

One big problem. Revenue targets don’t motivate teams.

  • Teams don’t care about revenue targets.
  • They don’t get excited by P&L statements.
  • They’re not here to line corporate coffers.

Teams want to make a difference for their family, in their community, for the world.

A vision paints a picture of the future. It will contain how company success impacts the team. What impact it has on the communities it serves. It will tie that into the financial goal to make it measurable and “real”. It shows how the organization will “get there.”

Lack of a unified vision makes it impossible to get your team “juiced.” Clear vision helps get them ready to perform at their best to help achieve it.

Creating a unified vision is management’s number one priority

Since lack of vision creates lack of knowledge worker performance; the way is clear. We must create a clear vision.

Lack of vision causes individuals to fill in their own belief system on where the company is going.

People do not view the world through the same lens.

Given identical facts about a situation; a group of 10 individuals can come up with 10 different viewpoints on what happened and why (2).

The cause is easy to identify. Each person has:

  • Their own background
  • Unique hopes
  • A set of beliefs
  • Desires for their future
  • Fears stemming from their own environment

These items craft what they view as “direction” for the company, and how they need to perform in their role. They will “fill in the blank” left by the lack of vision with their own conclusions.

It’s easy to see why Drucker hammers home on the importance of a unified vision.

These knowledge workers, if left to work towards their “own vision” can create chaos! Worse yet, your company’s coffers are financing this disaster.

Creating that unified vision removes the fear, uncertainty, and doubt your workers experience. They will know their impact. “What is in it for me” has a clear answer. All will “know their role.” It gets everyone “rowing in the same direction,” to use the common nomenclature.

Maintaining your vision

After you create your vision, you’ll need to have a strategy to disseminate and reinforce it. Plan on visiting your vision over and again. Consistency leads to comprehension, comprehension leads to results. (More about consistency here: https://randr.consulting/effective-communication-requires-consistency/)

Get together with your leadership and review your vision. Reflect on progress made, and choose the items that are the next “most important” on your “how you’ll get there” list. Keep your focus on your “W.I.N.s” (What’s important now – credit to Lou Holtz from Notre Dame).

Define where you are and where you will be in the future. Map out how you will get there. That’s vision.

Make sure to review this on a routine cadence with leadership. Share out changes organization-wide.

If you’re thinking about vision, or wondering where to get started, I’m happy to help. You can schedule a time to chat with me.

You can sign up for my newsletter to get more information. Sign up here.

References:

(1): Peter Drucker, Harvard Business Review,

(2): Dr. Larry Little, Eagle Center for Leadership, “Make a Difference”, pg. 41-43. ©2013

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