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Aajeevika SkillsVisioning Workshop24thFeb 2014 Visioning Exercise Briefing
What is vision of an organisation? • Organisations must regularly shape and reshape their own understanding of what to aim at and how to get there. • A vision is therefore an ‘image of the future’ • An image of what the organisation should/could become • It may be partly analytical and partly emotional so that all members can connect with it. • A group of organisations with a common purpose can also have a common vision – as in the case of Aajeevika Skills.
Why is the need of a vision? • A clear and well formulated vision gives all employees the feeling that the organisation is carrying out a meaningful task • Hence a vision can serve as a motivating factor even for those making small contributions in the organisation • It helps when the organisation is going through hard times – motivates the members to keep on going. • Helps to create a feeling of solidarity that is mutually shared – fosters mutual dialogue and cooperation • Vision serves as a beacon – gives clear direction for the organisation • People can understand why certain rules and values exist • Helps to generate a specific organisational culture and identity • A strong image to the outside world helps to attract clients, suppliers, potential employees, sponsors and other stakeholders. • Creates confidence in external parties • Provides a standard you can use to measure activities – is this contributing to the realisation of our vision?
Key elements of a vision • There are four-five main elements of a formally stated vision: • Mission - core business • Long term goal • Working approach and core values • Core activities/ product and clients • Slogan (optional)
Mission • The mission of an organisation is in fact the reason for its existence. • IT is largely determined by its core business, its main field of activity • It answers the question: Why are we here, what purpose do we serve?
Long term goal • As vision is future-oriented, it is good to define one or more long-term goals • Can be specified over a period between five (professional services organisation) and 30 years (e.g. for an oil exploration company)
Working approach and core values • Working approach and core values go hand in hand • It answers the questions: • What do we find important in our work? • How do we want to carry out our work and deal with our colleagues, suppliers, clients and other stakeholders? • Core values emphasis the manner in which the members want to do their business or carry out their activities. • There will often be a tension between actual working approach and values on the one hand and desired ones on the other – this may be necessary to make the organisation change for the better. • However, it may not work if the gap between actual and desired working approach is too large
Core activities/products and clients • Core activities/ products and clients provides an understanding of how the organisation tries to realise its mission. • Organisations must also regularly rethink the way in which they want to realise their mission in future.
Slogan • It is worthwhile to formulate in one sentence the ‘heart of the vision’. • Such a slogan makes it easier to explain the vision and to keep it alive within the environment of the organisation
Illustration: Institutional Strengthening for Private Agriculture (ISAP) Foundation • Mission/ core business • to unite and support (small?) agricultural producers to increase their income • Long term goal • ISPA has a 10-20 year horizon for its goals: • to build a strong, respected, reliable and financially and politically independent organisation, uniting committed ongoing agricultural producers of ---- district and if proven successful to other districts of the region. • Working approach and core values • Farmers’ participation • Reliability and mutual trust • Quality • Transparency • Core activities/ product and clients • Facilitating supply of inputs • Assisting agricultural producers in selling their produce • Provision of information and knowledge • Advocacy/representing interests of agricultural producers
How good is your vision? • A well-developed vision shows the following characteristics: • Challenging • Having an inherent tension between what is already there and what is not yet there • Inspiring • Emphasizing what the organisation aspires to be • Shared • Vision must have been contributed to by the majority of the stakeholders • Must be reviewed once in every 3-5 years as stakeholders and employees also keep changing • Binding • Everyone should feel part of the team – be able to identify own individual vision (at least partly) within the vision of the organisation • Giving Direction • Must be clear enough to serve as a beacon or guide in all major decisions of the organisation
Creating a shared vision • Leaders go through several steps to create a shared vision • Leaders start clarifying how they see the future of the organisation • Allow time for employees to talk about it and think it over • Leaders listen to the views of members at different levels and from different departments • Engage in dialogue – giving equal importance to all stakeholders and employees • Check whether everyone can recognise his /her own contribution
Conclusion • Vision development is a time and energy consuming process • But it also gives the organisation a lot of satisfaction and motivation • A shared vision can be a very valuable instrument to guide an organisation and make it become a reference point in society