We’re in the homestretch…here’s the end of my paper:
While a good vision statement provides incredible focus for an organization, a poor or nonexistent statement sends efforts into very scattered directions. If a reasonable and imaginable end goal is not put in front of employees, they may assume that any project, program or decision will be suitable. Organizations may survive this way for a time, but eventually the distraction of so many options and choices will cause good leaders to pull back and re-evaluate.
No one wants a “transformation effort [that] easily dissolves into a list of confusing and incompatible projects that can take the organization in the wrong direction or no where are all” (Kotter, 2006, p. 244). This will ultimately lead to increased frustration, employee exits and uncontrolled chaos.
Action without clear direction is chaos. Multiple actions of many people in an organization, without any idea of the desired outcome, create havoc. As previously mentioned, without a compelling purpose or vision, individuals tend to forge ahead making decisions that benefit their segment of the organization. Change management then becomes chaos management and leaders are forced to put out fires and pick up the broken pieces. God designed the human world to function in order. A vision statement can provide that order at every level of an organization.
Looking beyond what was to what could be is not easy. “Few of us can see beyond the present. Each of us must see into the future, and thus help create it, if we are to successfully accomplish our mission” (Jones, 1996, p. 72). Leaders must carefully guide their teams to understand their part in creating the future of their organization in an orderly, purposeful way.
Developing a clear and compelling vision is the third step in Kotter’s eight-stage change process. None of his determined stages can drive change independently of the others, but communicating a vision that people can get behind is crucial to the success of any change project. A good vision will drive action and demand a response from those following. Leaders can choose for their organizations to flourish under a clear vision or watch them quickly perish without clear direction.
[Jones, L.B. (1996). The path: Creating your mission statement for work and for life. New York: Hyperion.]
[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.]