The degree to which we can succeed is first of all determined by the degree to which we understand what is required.

It has been said that,  for a person who does not know where he/she is going, any road will do.

Vision derives from the word meaning “see”, and relates in leadership to the capacity to look to the future, and create a picture of what that could be.

Not much more than a decade ago the highest level aspirations of businesses were expressed in “corporate plans” or “strategy documents”. Today many businesses try to convey to employers and customers their version of excellence through “missions” and “visions”. These changes are indicative of the waybusiness is embracing leadership ideals.


A vision stimulates actions which take us towards our goals and sustains people through difficult times. Consider this extract from an inspirational speech. “Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way. Universal suffrage on a common voter’s roll in a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.

“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve, but if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die!” Nelson Mandela, on his release in February 1994, describing a vision which sustained him and his followers for 30 years.

Some businesses have experienced periods of great success by galvanising their people through clear visions. Komatsu – “Encircle caterpillar”.

Jack Welch at General Electric – “Speed, simplicity and self-confidence”.

Motorola are admired around the world for their achievements in quality.

Mentor Graphics – “Designing something people want to buy”.

Honda reversed a desperate decline by redefining a manager’s job as being focused on continuous improvement.

These examples come from visions created by people at the very top of businesses.

Is creating a vision a part of the role of intermediary managers?

What sort of pictures can a manager within an organisation create in the
imaginations of his / her team?


1. Involve others.
2. Identify stretching challenges.
3. Determine what you want.
4. Incorporate your values and passions.
5. Write an article about your team’s achievements – 12 months from today.
6. Write a short vision statement.
7. Express it in a slogan.

A slogan is not a substitute for the full vision, but it can communicate powerfully and memorably.

When the chief executive of Rolex was asked, “How is the watch business?”, he surprised his audience when he said he didn’t know. He went on to say,“I’m not in the watch business, I’m in the luxury goods business”.

Similarly Edward Goeppner who runs a chain of florists said, “We don’t sell flowers, we sell beauty”.

On hearing these statements, one LDL course participant said, “I don’t send out invoices, I fuel the company’s investment”.

What is it your team “doesn’t do?” In your vision what do they do?


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