The Power of a Clear Vision
By: Robert J. Tamasy
I have been working on book projects for two companies that are prominent in their respective industries. In getting acquainted with the leaders of both organizations, I have discovered a common thread – even though their enterprises are totally different. That commonality is a very clear sense of mission, vision and values.
Although the businesses have expressed these ideas in different ways, they share another distinctive: Instead than expecting employees, customers and vendors to remember the guiding principles, presuming they “know” them, their missions and other foundational values have been articulated in writing and prominently displayed in various locations throughout their facilities.
One corporation, a key player in the transportation industry, declares its goal to provide service that “exceeds expectations of our customers.” In a vision statement, it adds its intent “to be viewed by our customers and peers as the standard of quality and customer care….”
The other company – a manufacturer – declares in its mission statement the desire to be the “supplier of choice throughout the world.” In a separate statement of its commitment to the highest quality, it asserts it will “provide defect-free products and services on time, every time.” This declaration of mission concludes by pointing to the owners’ ultimate focus: to perform its work “All to the Glory of God.”
As I have conducted interviews to gather information for the books, it has become evident the staffs are acutely aware of these statements. They understand these principles are intended to serve as a basis for their approach to daily responsibilities. It is not a coincidence that both of these companies are ranked at or near the top of their industries and held in high regard by employees, clients, suppliers – and even competitors.
It has been said that in setting goals, three questions is helpful: “Where are we going?” “How are we going to get there?” “How will we know when we have arrived?” For this reason, there is tremendous wisdom in having a leadership team collaborate to formulate statements of mission, vision and values to ensure that all parties involved have an unambiguous understanding of what they are required to do, why they are doing it, and how.
The Bible speaks directly to this issue. In the Old Testament it declares, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). Another translation of the same passage states, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.” In other words, vision helps to tell people where they are headed and what is expected of them. Armed with this understanding, they can live up to expectations.
Vision provides direction. When people have confidence in their leader, they only need to be told the way they should go. “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you…they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there” (Genesis 12:1-5).
Vision gives purpose. To be most effective, workers need to know not only what product or service their company provides, but also what they will accomplish together. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Vision offers identity. Who are your employers, in terms of their role in your organization? Vision helps them to understand their roles. “But you will receive power…and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8).
Until next week!
Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran of more than 35 years in professional journalism, he is the author of Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press) and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring: 10 Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or www.rivercitypress.net.
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