Top-Shelf Tip No. 240:

"A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done."

Ralph Lauren

Six C’s Of A Visionary Organization, Part 1

We've all seen them framed on the walls of a business or on the first slide of a business capabilities presentation—the dreaded Vision Statement. A lot of businesses say that they have one, but why should we really care? Has a vision statement ever changed your opinion of an organization? My guess is not very often.

Vision is the tension between what was, what is, and what will be. It reaffirms an organization's reason for existence and identifies who it serves. There is a difference between having a vision statement blanketed on a wall and actually being a visionary organization. Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares these six c's of a visionary organization from business author Eliakim Thorpe.

According to Thorpe, an organization's powerful and effective vision for future change must be:

1. Clear: A powerful vision is clear—it creates a mental picture in the mind of your workforce of what it would be like to achieve it. A clearly articulated vision becomes the masterpiece— the organization is the painter and the world its canvas. A clear vision uses direct, transparent and straightforward language and meaningful visuals to convey a sense of the desired future state that is easy for the staff to understand and internalize.

2. Compelling: It is important that every organization identifies and articulates a compelling story to ignite change. The story must be able to capture the heart, mind and soul of its employees. It should create a sense of urgency based upon the changing marketplace and shifting societal winds; not urgency simply based on financial factors or fierce competition. This isn't simply a matter of showing people poor sales statistics or talking about increased competition. It is a transparent view of a current undesirable state that paints a picture of what would happen if the organization doesn't change. The story should connect to the soul of the company and its very reason for existence. It should be so compelling that it creates a type of constructive tension in the heart, mind and soul of its employees to initiate a profound change for growth. The story becomes the catalyst for change. In its essence, a compelling story inspires the whole organization.

3. Concrete: A concrete vision occurs when an organization is skilled in giving form to a formless and shapeless future reality. A concrete vision awakens the five senses of every employee to produce a tangible and substantial reality that is achievable. It is analogous to being a potter actively shaping the clay, molding it and transforming it into something tangible that the organization can understand. In the end, a concrete vision uses descriptive, present-tense language and visuals to convey a believable future and desired end state of the organization.

Is your business on it's way to being a visionary organization? If you aren't sure, read more in tomorrow's issue of PCT.

Eliakim Thorpe is a sought-after speaker, consultant, thought-leader and entrepreneur, author and a leading authority on organizational transformation. He is the creator of the T.H.R.I.V.I.N.G. Organization: A New Philosophy to Transform Organizations, which is both a philosophy and a systematic process to help businesses create frameworks to become transformational—internally and externally. As an IT professional, Thorpe has worked with and consulted for Fortune 10 to Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Whirlpool and GM.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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