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What is Vision in business and elements of vision

Updated on January 2, 2015

Very early in the strategy-making process, company managers need to pose a set of questions “What is our vision for the company, where should be the company be headed, what should be its future-technology-product-customer focus, what kind of enterprise do we want to be.”

A strategic vision thus reflects management’s aspirations for the organization and its business, providing a wide view of “where we are going” and giving specifics about its future business plans.

The three elements of a strategic vision

Managers have three noticeable tasks in forming a strategic vision and making it a useful direction-setting tool.

  • Coming up with a “mission statement” that defines what business the company is presently in and conveys the essence of “who we are, what we do, and where we are now”.
  • Using the mission statement as a basis for deciding on a long-term course, making choices about “ where we are going and charting a strategic path for the company to pursue”.
  • Communicating the strategic vision in clear, exciting terms that arouse organization wide commitment.

Vision

A vision statement is sometimes called a picture of your company in the future but it is so much more than that. Your vision statement is your inspiration, the framework for all your strategic planning. A vision statement may apply to an entire company or to a single division of that company. Whether for all or part of an organization, the vision statement answers the question, “Where do we want to go?".

What you do when creating a vision statement is articulating your dreams and hopes for your business. It reminds you of what you are trying to build. While a vision statement does not tell you how you are going to get there, it does set the direction for your business planning. That’s why it is important when crafting a vision statement to let your imagination go and dare to dream. Also it is important to note that a vision statement captures your passion.

Unlike the mission statement, a vision statement is for you and the other members of your company, and not for your customers or clients. When writing a vision statement, your mission statement and your core competencies can be a valuable starting point for articulating your values. Be sure when you are creating one not to fall into the trap of only thinking ahead a year or two. Once you have one, your vision statement will have a huge influence on decision making and the way you allocate resources.

Definitions

  1. The desired or intended future state of an organization.
  1. Ultimate goal of an organization can be defined as vision

Features of vision

  • Foresight or “power of seeing”
  • Focus on future (see the future and prepare for it)
  • Serve as a concrete foundation for the organization
  • Never change but it can be improved

E.g. Microsoft Organization

For years, one vision drove what Microsoft did “A computer on every desk and in every home using great software as an empowering tool“. But the emergence of the internet and non-PC devices like handheld Computers and TV-set-top boxes as increasingly integral parts of everyday life Microsoft changed its vision to “Empower people through great software anytime, anyplace, and on any device’’.

Bill Gates observes “we see a world where people can use any computing device to do whatever they want to anytime, anywhere. The PC will continue to have a central role. But it will be joined by an incredibly rich variety of digital devices accessing the power of internet.

Benefits of vision

  • A vision promote change
  • Be the driver to change (If no vision, nobody is interested to innovate new things)
  • Serves as a road map for companies
  • Energizing people and departments for the purpose
  • Motivate individuals and facilitate the recruitment of talents

Many young people like to work in visionary organizations

E.g. Sony Corporation

An employee innovated “a new type of computer game and he became the head of the company. At that time it contributed to 40 % of profits of the Sony Corporation also to 11 % of total revenue.

  • Vision does not vary from year to year but serves as enduring promise.

In practice, some companies change their vision from time to time. But it is not the right thing to do.

  • It gives answers for future questions


Which comes first? The mission statement or the vision statement?

It depends. If you have a new start up business, new program or plan to re-engineer your current services, then the vision will guide the mission statement and the rest of the strategic plan. If you have an established business where the mission is established, then many times, the mission guides the vision statement and the rest of the strategic plan. Either way, you need to know your fundamental purpose - the mission, your current situation in terms of internal resources and capabilities (strengths and/or weaknesses) and external conditions (opportunities and/or threats), and where you want to go - the vision for the future. It's important that you keep the end or desired results in sight from the start.

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