Creating Your Organization’s Vision Statement

Creating Your Organization’s Vision Statement October 9, 2013


Right Focus Part 2

Unlike mission statements which describe your personal or organization purpose, an organization vision statement sets a standard or overriding goal that you aspire to; once fulfilled, it’s critical to formulate a new compelling vision statement. Vision answers the question, “Where do we see ourselves going?”

Involving others in developing a vision is important because your team helps you shape an attractive and successful future for the company, and this creates mutual ownership in the company’s success. The first step in developing a vision is to bring together key stakeholders to reflect on the most positive Best Future State they can see for your team or organization. Ask the question:

“If you were transported five to ten years into the future and your highest wishes for this team or organization were realized, what would you see?”

Imagine yourself waking up in the future 3- 5 years from now. As you walk around your company, notice what people are saying and doing, what they are accomplishing together, what others (customers, your industry, employees, the media, the community) are saying about you and what heights you’ve reached as a team or organization.

Before discussing observations with the group, have everyone write down their specific description of exactly what they saw as they walked around in the future —no matter how farfetched. Instruct them to be as detailed as possible and to not be afraid to use vivid descriptions of what they experienced in this time travel exercise.

“Future State” Exercise

Encourage Dialogue & Capture Common Themes

Once everyone has had a chance to get their ideas down, you want to encourage a dialogue that will help you find a common foundation for building a vision that unites your stakeholders.  As before, it’s important to have a skilled facilitator who will ensure the groups’ input is encouraged, captured, processed and reported back later.

  • Form groups of eight to ten for large groups.
  • Within each group, ask each person to share his/her vision of the Best Future State. This process promotes a thoughtful dialogue about what each person visualized.
  • Ask the groups to summarize the common themes across the vision descriptions they’ve heard in their group.
  • Instruct the groups to report out these “vision themes” to the large group. Some of the most frequently mentioned common themes in the sub-groups revolve around things like what the workplace would look like, what customers would be experiencing, the company’s growth, collective learning, impact on society, winning awards, and being voted a great place to work.

Write the Headline

By starting with each individual’s vivid description of the future and moving to the agreed upon common themes across all the sub-groups, you will be able to find a common direction on which to build a compelling vision.

Make Your Organization Vision Statement Something You Can Benchmark

In writing the headline, be careful that your vision statement doesn’t become just a slogan – it needs to be something you can measure. That is, you have to make the overriding goal something you can break into milestones that over a span of time will get you to the final goal or your vision (usually 3-10 years out).

Establish a Timeline

What are some of the milestones you can set to achieve your vision? In other words, what has to be accomplished in order for you to reach your vision?

Your vision is the overall umbrella that answers the question, “What are we going after?” This big “what” gets broken down across departments and teams in the organization so that goals and objectives tie back to the vision.

The principles shared here provide a framework so that you, your team and your organization can work toward an inspiring vision. You can find more valuable information from our interviews with other CEOs in CEO Road Rules.

Check back with us next week as we discuss the process of building on your mission and vision to create a Values Statement.

Learn more about our services for organizations here or contact us at 813-831-9500.