Alright…here’s a little bit more of my paper. Knock yourselves out. 🙂
While a good plan can only take an organization so far, an action-provoking vision can help leaders determine the proper strategy and direction for their organization. By specifically explaining where an organization is headed, leaders give their teams a framework that helps “clarify the direction in which an organization needs to move” (Kotter, 2006, p. 244).
Vision is a broad look at where an organization is headed while strategy is more narrowly focused. Strategy centers on the specific steps and actions a team must take in order to see the vision come to fruition. The options may be numerous, but ultimately the vision will determine what action is taken. For example, “strategy says, ‘we’re going west, but we ran into this grand canyon. We can go around to the north or south. Let’s choose south’” (Robbins, 2006). If vision is communicated properly, teams will be empowered to make decisions regarding the strategic direction of their organization.
As previously mentioned, a good vision statement provides the direction needed to allow leaders to make intentional decisions that will continue to shape the organization. This keeps ambiguity low as it relates to the change effort. Rather than tossing ideas, strategies and programs against the wall to see what sticks, leaders can use a compelling vision to help make deliberate decisions about what will be successful in the organization.
Vision also helps leaders put parameters around what behaviors will be acceptable in the new life of the organization. This gives employees an idea of what is expected and allows leaders to model what they are asking of their teams. When it comes to making intentional decisions about individual actions and behavior, Warren Bennis suggests that leaders “specify the steps that behaviorally fit into that vision, and then reward people for following those steps” (2002, p. 105).
[Bennis, W. (2002). Become a tomorrow leader. In L.C. Spears & M. Lawrence (Ed.) Focus on leadership: Servant leadership for the 21st century (pp. 101-109). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.]
[Kotter, J. (2006). Leading change: Why transformation efforts fail. In J. V. Gallos (Ed.) Organizational development a Jossey-Bass reader (pp. 239-251). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.]
[Robbins, S. (2006). Successful vision, strategy and tactics. Retrieved on June 21, 2009 from http://www.steverrobbins.com/articles/vision-strategy-tactics.htm]