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Vision, Values, and Purpose

Technomanagers create a sterile and passionless culture. Their strategies, budgets, and business plans are cold and lifeless. So, most people go through the motions, put in their time, and go home. In this environment, change and improvement programs have no spirit. These programs may build up some speed and even get off the ground — but they don’t soar.

A strong Focus and Context is at the core of a vibrant culture (“the way we do things around here”). It gives direction and guide’s behavior. It energizes the heart, soul, and spirit of teams and organizations. Three interconnected questions are at the center of Focus and Context:

  • Where are we going (our vision or picture of our preferred future)?
  • What do we believe in (our principles or values)?
  • Why do we exist (our purpose or niche)?

Pitfalls and Traps:

  • Doing “the vision thing.”
  • Confusing goals/plans (head) with vision/values/purpose (heart).
  • We’re not living this way now, so it can’t be a value.
  • Long bureaucratic statements that don’t energize and inspire.
  • More than three – four values.
  • Slam-dunked from the top down.
  • Little time “caring for the context.”
  • Poor verbal communication skills.
  • Vague “World/Industry Leader” statements.

Keys to Focus and Context:

Shared vision, values, and purpose with broad ownership.
Communicate face-to-face and heart-to-heart.
Use emotive language, images, metaphors, and snappy slogans.
Blend past values with future visions.
Review and revitalize regularly.
Make them big, bold, and brash (BHAGs).
Keep highly visible and refer to them often.
Use in hiring, promotions, and recognition.
Are they compelling? Says who?

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