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The Power of Vision


Dr. Abdelaziz Mustafa


A vision, as described by Richard Olivier, is ” a desired future; that can make a positive difference, does not yet exist, but is not impossible. When shared it helps to unify others around a goal and motivate them.”

The purpose of a vision is to help create focus, identify direction, unleash power and allow the organization to move forward. It clarifies the reason for  the existence of the organization, illuminates the organization  values and pictures its future. The end result of a vision  is to add greater value for the organization’s customers, and more profit to the share holders.

A vision is essential for the survival, success and excellence of the organization. It is becoming increasingly critical for dealing with rapid changes, for achieving customer satisfaction, and for the quest for profitability and quality service. An organization needs a vision because it:

  • Ensures consistency and clarity of purpose throughout the organization.

  • Clarifies values and gains commitment for them from those within the organization.

  • Helps everyone makes decisions and provides a point of reference for all major decisions.

  • Builds foundations for business planning.

  • Promotes change and continuous improvement.

  • Sparks organizational learning and knowledge sharing.

  • Gains understanding and support from those people outside the organization who are important to its success.

When an organization is driven by a vision, it will have a  sense of purpose and overall congruence with its goals, and an ability to generate divergent ideas of the future and think beyond short term goals. It will also have a stronger employees commitment. It will know where it is going to and how to get there. A vision is , therefore, an infallible path to the survival, success and excellence of the organization. Every organization should have a vision to guide its activities and to help it:

  • Capture the desired spirit of the organization.

  • Describe a preferred and meaningful future state.

  • Promote change.

  • Motivate individuals and facilitates the recruitment of talent.

  • Keep decision-making in context.

Before describing a vision development process, it is important to mention here that a vision is not, and should not be considered the same thing as a mission. A vision describes what the organization aspires to become, giving employees at all levels a clear direction to follow. It is simple, motivational and realistic describing how the organization is going to work. On the other hand, a mission is a statement about the organization’s purpose or reason for existence. It is something to be accomplished, and  toward which  the organization’s plans and programs should be directed.


  • The Vision Development Process


Once the importance of a vision for the survival, success and excellence of the organization has been established, the next question becomes how to develop a vision?

The vision development process starts with strategic thinking. Strategic thinking is a process by which the chief executive of the organization and the key people around him envision a look of the organization in the future. Hence, the first step in the vision development process is the identification, by the chief executive of the organization, of a look of the organization in the future that could bring new possibilities for the organization. This look is then refined by answering the question what should the organization do and what the results should be? To answer this question, the organization has to review and update its mission statement, define its key values and what they mean in action, and conduct a comprehensive analysis of the organization.

The purpose of the review of the mission statement is to ensure that the mission statement clearly describes what the organization is and what it seeks to achieve, documents the reason for the existence of the organization, and answer questions such as what is the purpose toward which the employees commit their work life? What does the organization produce, what are the benefits and outcomes of the organization’s products, and who are the organization customers? The review of the mission statement involves open and intensive communication and debate which provides a  powerful mechanism for reaching consensus over the values and goals of the organization.

The key values of the organization are the basic beliefs or a principle considered inherently worthwhile or desirable. Values are a source of strength because they give people the power to take action. They describe what it will feel like to work in the organization? Which  behaviors will be required for adding value, adapting or changing? The key values should be shared by all the people of the organization. They should grab the heart and soul and stir them to action. They should speak to the needs of the business as well as  the needs of the people.

The comprehensive analyses of the organization is a process for looking at the organization past and present to identify its strengths and weaknesses. It includes an analysis of both the internal and external environments to identify opportunities and threats. It goes beyond the organization to its customers and suppliers and industry trends for information on what is important to them by examining the current state of the organization, the services, products or programs of the organization, the human resources employed by the organization, the  financial standing of the organization, and the future plans of the organization.

A well developed vision is not an end by itself. What matters the most is the achievement of the vision. A vision is to be achieved by the development of a strategy. A strategy is a plan of action to make a vision a reality. It will expand possibilities and focus on  new initiatives that can lead to the survival, success and excellence of the organization.