Overview: The vision statement should be aspirational, achievable, and paint a clear picture of what the organization hopes to achieve by taking advantage of the business opportunity. A clear vision statement serves as the starting point for future communication. It remains a continuous reference point for decisions as they are made.

Considerations: Any level within the organization can contribute toward making a vision statement, but any such level should include a cross-section of stakeholders who are sufficiently familiar with the business opportunity being sought. Management need not exclusively draft a vision statement. To that extent, leaders should enlist contributions from lower levels of employees within the organization who may see the business opportunity from a unique perspective. Why should this initiative be done? Who will benefit if this is initiative is successful? Who might be a good facilitator for this visioning exercise?

Most of us are familiar with the story of the blind tribesmen who touched an elephant. The one who touched only the tail thought the elephant was a rope; the one who touched only the elephant’s side thought it was a wall; the one who touched its leg thought it was a tree, and so forth. The principal of combined contributions runs throughout the art of making good business decisions. Every good Farmer wants “to hear from” those the Farmer can identify as likely to have good ideas, no matter where that person is on the corporate ladder. Major initiatives can benefit enormously from vision statements drafted with the help of lower agents within the organization.

Practices:

  • Review any existing organization vision, strategy, and brand visions.
  • Enlist a skilled facilitator to conduct the visioning session.
  • Form a team of six to ten visionary people from various levels of operation.
  • Include a cross-section of experts and management.
  • Distribute copies of information a few days prior to the session.
  • Conduct brain-storming visioning session (2-4 hours minimum; 2-3 days maximum in the rarest of situations).
  • Reach agreement on the general content — not specific phrasing.
  • Verify content is aspirational, achievable, and goal oriented.
  • Verify that content is consistent with the organization’s larger visions of operation.
  • Draft three or four versions (styles) using the content from the group.
  • Distribute findings to the team; reach consensus for one version.