This is an Eval Central archive copy, find the original at cense.ca.
A good vision statement should do many things for your organization. Too often, a vision statement is created that goes into PR and marketing materials, gets framed on the wall, and then left alone. When we have a good vision, we have so much more than that.
Vision statements can indicate your ‘North Star’. A vision statement can also be your Southwest star, too; it’s about indicating direction. But, it’s more than that.
A good vision statement should:
- Provide strategic direction.
- Help you make decisions about your strategic activities.
- Inspire you and your organization.
- Focus on the direction of your efforts.
- Align your resources with your goals.
Using Your Vision
It’s worth putting in the work to create a strong vision. A vision will allow you to weather the complexity of your market or circumstances. If you’re getting pushed to do new things, a vision can help you to determine what things are most appropriate. A vision might not tell you exactly what to do, but it will reduce the number of options available. By reducing the volume of information and number of decisions, a vision reduces complexity.
That reduction in complexity reduces the amount of effort you need to put into decisions.
When we have fewer decisions, we can focus more on the quality of those decisions.
Creating Your Vision
Vision statements and the like do not need to require days of meetings and processes. We suggest the following steps:
- Research what the pressing needs are of the organization.
- Ask what the priorities are of the organization based on these needs.
- Inquire about what actions are needed to be achieved within a certain time frame (e.g., year, 3-years, etc..).
- Determine the values that guide the work.
- Bring together the key leaders and stakeholders to frame what kind of feelings and sensations represent success in achieving the goals.
- Put these words (descriptors) together.
Yes, it can be that simple. The aim is to create a good enough phrase that can be used in practice. The focus must be on those who will use the vision, not external audiences. Why? Unless you’re looking to create a PR exercise, the vision is meant to inspire and focus your team.
That means designing it for the humans in your organization, not anonymous external individuals. With a vision ready, you can allow it to serve as your compass as you navigate complexity in the years ahead.
Ready to develop your vision? Want help? Let’s talk – we do this with human services organizations working in complex settings, high-pressure environments, and with a need to innovate.