Visions Provide the Energizing Context to Reach Our GoalsBy: Jim Clemmer
"We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon."Like mission and vision statements and values, goal setting and visioning labels often get confused and used interchangeably. Generally that doesn't matter. As long as the people on our teams and in our organizations are clear and consistent with their meanings and approaches, we shouldn’t get hung up on definitions and jargon.
But many people really are confused about the conflicting and complimentary aspects of visions and goals. Goals are management issues. They deal with rational analysis, planning, measurement, and discipline. Visions are leadership issues. They deal with feelings, energy, ideas, and fantasy. These are not either/or choices — both are needed. These are and/also paradoxes to be balanced.
Differences Between Goals and Visions
Goals follow out of the Focus and Context of our visions. They are shorter-term steps toward our longer-term vision. Especially in today's fast changing world, most detailed strategies or sets of plans aren't relevant for more than a few months. Effective visions define what we want us, our team, or our organization to look like well into the future. To set goals is to be reasonable. To vision is to be bold.
Team and Organization Visioning
"All of the leaders to whom we spoke seemed to have been masters at selecting, synthesizing, and articulating an appropriate vision of the future. Later we were to learn that this was a common quality of leaders down through the ages."
— Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge
Within two months of joining forces in 1981, Art McNeil and I developed the first of many visions for our start-up training and consulting company, The Achieve Group. It became a yearly ritual for us, and later our team of Achievers to review and revise our vision (and values) and then set that year's strategies, goals, plans, and budgets. Starting with Tom Peters' Toward Excellence program in 1983, we went on to help hundreds of management teams (some much more successfully then others) in many countries establish their Context and Focus and then put together implementation strategies and build the leadership skills that brought it all to life.
At Achieve and now at The CLEMMER Group, we have learned that a powerful organization vision will:
© Copyright 2001 The CLEMMER Group
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