Since next year is 2020, you will see a great deal of conversation in business publications about the subject of vision in organizations. The term parallels the date and is a reference to discussing the characteristics and need for vision – and many events will emphasize its importance, including our Leadership Summit in March. We want to get a jump on the theme for next year by talking about a couple of critical elements of vision from the ADEPT point of view.
It’s not what you think.
The concept and term of vision are used loosely in organizations. Most people think of vision as a statement about the desired aspirations of an organization. Many view it as superficial, “that vision thing,” as famously stated by former President Bush, 41.
However, that view misses out on what we believe are other critical elements of vision. When it comes to leadership, our context of vision is a capacity of leaders to use it to inspire others, to influence them to act, and to allow these actions to lead to greater effectiveness and success. We suggest that vision can consist of 3 critical elements that should be considered for leadership at all levels. Those three elements are Framing, Focus, and Future:
- Framing is about the communication and positioning of the vision
- Focus is about the execution of the vision
- Future is about the plan and long-term strategy of the vision
These three concepts are areas to consider as you think about both your personal and organization vision. They aren’t sequential but interact to make the vision come to life and support the achievement of it.
The right frame.
Traditionally, glasses improve vision to enhance clarity or get to 20-20. Many styles of glasses have a frame that surrounds the lens. The frame helps define the end of the glass, helps hold them on the wearers head, and has an impact of how the wearer looks with the glasses on.
Successful leaders know that “framing” the conversation and objectives is a critical element of enabling better vision. Framing acts to define what is part of the vision, and what is not. It provides the context and boundaries to achieve it. Framing positions the purpose of vision in relation to everything else.
Many organizational activities can benefit from framing. Intentionally framing a meeting allows all attendees to understand what needs to be accomplished clearly and in what way. Framing instructions provide context for the achievement of the objective compared to everything else that needs to be done. And, framing emails and one-way communication allows the reader understand the purpose of the message and what’s required or expected.
Framing requires the leader to think about their audience. It also requires the leader to consider their position and the boundaries so it is understandable to all. This critical element will reduce resistance because it can answer the “why” of the vision. As a result, it can provide the impetus for people to follow the leader.