Organizational Change :: Vision [6]

I know, I know. Some of you are so over this. Bear with me…it’s been my life for the last eight weeks. 🙂

Some more of my paper and more of what can happen without a clear, compelling vision…


Generally, people are very resistant to change. The transition feels unsafe and unpredictable. The “way things used to be done” does not seem to matter anymore. Kotter shares one example, “a company gave out four-inch-thick note-books describing…procedures, goals, methods and deadlines. But nowhere was there a clear and compelling statement of where all this was leading…most employees were either confused or alienated” (2006, p. 245).

A good vision statement can help alleviate some of this expected resistance. The goal would be to get as many people as possible to “buy in” to the new plan, therefore reducing the confusion and alienation.


Indecision can be eradicated with clarity of direction. When a clear vision is established, it drives all decision making. Rather than wondering what next step to take, or whether to implement this program or that strategy, leaders can ask “one simple question—is this in line with the vision?” (Kotter, 1996, p. 69). If not, the answer is simple.

Clarity of direction also eliminates compromise. Because the vision drives decision making, critical decisions can be made ahead of time. Leaders are not left to ponder whether or not a certain proposition would be a good idea. Much of that has already been outlined in the vision statement and one must only consult it to determine the next right step.

[Kotter, J. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.]

[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.]


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