“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.” (Proverbs 29:18, NASB) They can’t focus, can’t reach their goal, and can’t follow their dream. An older translation says, “Without vision, the people perish.” (KJV) Without vision, people lose the vitality that makes them feel alive and engaged.
Vision is more than a vision statement to be dusted off once in a while and then forgotten. It is the foundational “here is where we are and there is where we are going” cultural underpinning that defines an organization’s uniqueness.
So why then is so little energy invested in keeping vision vibrant? Often times, this is because the Leader doesn’t understand, or has forgotten about, their role as Initiator.
In the organizational construct, there are typically 4 predominant roles:
Without the Initiator, there is no initial vision. More importantly, without the Initiator functioning as the visionary pace setter, the organization lacks common purpose. We could almost say the Initiator functions more as the pace maker rather than the pace setter as they keep the muscle of the organizational heart (vision) pumping new life into the culture.
They do this by functioning in a space that focuses primarily on their role as Chief Futurist i.e., living in and concentrating on what will be and not getting lost in the minutiae of what is happening now. They delegate appropriately and trust accordingly.
Of course it takes a well-balanced Team to optimize overall performance. However, without the cultural heart beating consistently and continuously, nourishment does not flow to the other parts of the organizational body.
In that case,
Ideators, who focus on innovation,
Elaborators, who focus on execution, and
Completers, who focus on getting the job done,
might develop cultural tachycardia (a bad condition where each bodily organ rushes off in its own direction in an uncoordinated fashion with dire consequences.)
Warning Signs of Organizational Vision Problems
1. Your employees do their work, but there is little zest or enthusiasm.
2. After meetings, people do not implement agreed-upon actions. We have all been there!
3. If asked what the company’s vision is, employees give different, vague answers.
4. The leadership team members are all polite with no heated discussions.
5. Employee productivity is low and focused on issues not solutions.
6. Few people are taking responsibility and making things happen.
So avoid the crash cart! Make sure that the appropriate Leader is nourishing the organizational culture by owning and reinforcing the vision at every opportunity.