Developing a Vision for Change
Physically, our vision is one of our senses that we rely on to perform every daily task that we encounter. However, vision is not merely something entirely concrete, and it isn’t always what our brain processes as we scan the room in front of us.
Vision is much deeper than surface level and certainly more complex than black and white images. It requires us to perceive something far off in the distance, perhaps not even in our immediate field of view. Sometimes defined as ‘the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be’. That which will or may come true is the vision, and arriving there is the result of taking action and working with the end in mind.
Within any organization, having a well-defined vision is pivotal when managing complex change, and changing the way things have historically been done. Check out nearly any website for a church, business, non-profit, school, or even personal blog, and I would estimate that an overwhelming majority have a vision and mission statement clearly written and available for anyone to view.
When driving complex change, personally and professionally, the more concise and articulate a vision is, the better the percentage of arriving at the end goal. A vision must be specific and leave no doubts in the reader’s mind.
So, what is vision?
Vision is knowing exactly where you want to be and exactly what needs to change. The process is important, however it will change often and unexpectedly, and therefore it is challenging to determine exactly the steps needed to arrive at the destination.
And, why is this important?
Because you will never arrive at where it is you need to be, if you don’t know where it is that you want to go. Put simply, to begin managing a complex change is not feasible without the understanding of what needs to change.
The Role of Vision in Managing Complex Change
A visionary can be described as someone who has a very keen foresight – a person whom can identify areas for growth, and successfully lead and navigate a collective towards a specific goal. Visionaries can also take a thought or idea and see it as it will be and not as it could be. This is the epitome of what it means to have a vision and to go after it.
An individual or group of people wishing to manage complex change must have and collectively agree on the vision. Why is this important in navigating change? Because it develops the foundation needed to build out the framework for managing and implementing change.
If there is no vision whatsoever or a vision not agreed upon, then the vision will struggle to even take flight. The individual or group will sit and remain working towards an end in which there is clear goal in mind.
Therefore, vision is action. Vision can’t just be seen; it needs to be done.
_______ + skills + incentives + resources + action plan = Confusion
So, what is the result of attempting to drive change without a vision? Confusion. You will find yourself, your employees, your friends, your family, and anyone else whom was reeled in to be a part of the change process in a state of confusion. And where there is confusion, often you will find doubt. And where you find doubt, you will often find failure.
In addition to being the first step in the equation, I also believe vision is the most powerful component. It is what allows the cycle of change to continue to hone and refine itself until the process being changed becomes as efficient as possible. And, when you lack a vision, you lack the ability to not only inspire others to take action, but more importantly to break the mentalities of ‘if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it’.
No vision is too big or too small. You need only remember to have one that is clearly articulated and concisely written. It is then, that a vision has the power and ability to literally change the world.
“Don’t underestimate the power of your vision to change the world. Whether that world is your office, your community, an industry or a global movement, you need to have a core belief that what you contribute can fundamentally change the paradigm or way of thinking about problems.”
So, where do you begin? Start by writing a vision for your life. I understand it’s a bit of an oxymoron to work backwards from where you want to be, in order to know where you need to go next. However, having the vision eliminates the confusion of asking yourself, “What’s next”.