Employees are bombarded with much management talk, workshops, and slogan on organizational vision. Vision is a hot topic of the day. There is legitimate rationale for the need of an organizational vision, which calls for the “buy in” of all employees for the survival or achieving excellence of the entity.
Some management who subscribes to the theories of Learning Organization, also recognizes the importance of individual learning as the foundation to Organizational learning. Individual learning calls for Personal Mastery and this involves personal vision with creative tension against the current reality individual faces.
What happen if there is no Personal Vision?
Or, should the question be: is there Personal vision among members of the organization? This is a fundamental question, as there will be much wastage of recourses, or even producing un-intended negative consequences, if we assume without verification the existence of personal vision.
Personal Vision Attributes
We will paint a picture of the attributes (or evidence) of personal vision as the premise for the subsequent discussion.
There are three aspects to Personal Vision: a) Vision (a picture of the future state), b) Current Reality (existing conditions, good or bad, contradiction or support to the future state), c) visible steps and effort taken by the individual with a determined mindset of reaching the painted vision-picture, against all odds, difficulties or frustration. At the same time, the person is not stressed or exhausted physically nor mentally but always with abundant energy to take the next bold step. A person not reactive, but pro-active with wisdom, leveraging with minimum effort to produce greater result. Let us call it – “creative tension” pulling the person current reality towards the vision, vividly painted in the mind of the person.
Against such a described characteristics of Personal vision attributes, there is very few such persons in a large population sample of an organization.
Four categories of employee behavior:
(Employee can be upper management members or lower)
1.0 No clear personal vision.
2.0 Negative emotional stress and tension in life
3.0 Feeble voices of what they truly want in life with a lot of “buts”
It is more a sign of defeat, giving up, powerlessness and unworthiness … whatever. The obvious consequence is no further quality plan, strategies, let alone committed action.
4.0 Having arrived, or more or less arrived at the earlier established vision.
Indeed there are very very few souls who have clear personal vision either of lower or higher dimension, or making it sharper or more crystallized as they interact with their environment and reality, no matter how adverse or at odds with their vision. There are sure a lot of people with “negative tension” of high emotion on many things they don’t like or want.
Vision discovery or creation is not as easy as deciding on, say buying an item and goes for it. Many people I observe find it a puzzle about what in life they are really pursuing - in term of ultimate destination of their life. It is fine to have a vision of good health, as such; the visionary focuses on the health aspects with earnest drives and may succeed in reaching a far better health than before. It is also fine to have a vision of a very successful business or career. But when the visionary reaches the visioned destination, sometimes there is a sense of loss of what is the next step?
This sense of loss is quite understandable. When much energy is expanded in the pursuit of a "lesser" vision, there seems to have internal built-up of latent energy to be expanded. When the "lesser" vision is realized, the latent energy does not have an avenue to be applied to.
Our rational mind will sometimes ask: why do we have to go for a greater or larger vision, or any vision at all? Is it necessary, what benefits? After all I am not that ambitious!
A logical question invites a rational answer:
Each of the above rationale can invite many more logical questions: Why? What for? .... There is a limit to such intellectual game that most of us seem to be fond in engaging. The mental model is "having good rationale... then action", “It makes no sense to act without good rationale”.
These mental models can be translated into : “I need a good rationale for me to love my children and family. Otherwise why should I care for them?”. Is that how we behave and act?
Maybe a complex life is not just a world of rationale. Sometimes it is just a feeling, a curiosity or desire to search for a deeper sense of purpose in life that vision creation or discovery becomes all the more meaningful. There is a limit on the motivation aspects of either creating a vision or discovery of a hidden vision with rational and intellectual approach only. We may need to recognize that some people take longer time than others to visioning process. Others need special experience or dramatic event happening to connect them to vision. Having humbly accepting the complexity of human dynamic, a visionary leader needs to constantly and creatively design and facilitate a learning environment for such awakening to take place.
Techniques and Skills in facilitating Vision Creation / Discovery
The following can be starting points as focus for the experimentation.
The strategic approach is helping to connect and relate to current reality, with earnest learning appetite to constantly examine the underlying mental models at work, with commitment to redesign to a more appropriate mental model to the extend of creating a new set of behavior and thinking pattern.
For those interested to create their vision or discovery their latent or seemingly lost vision, you are welcome to email undersigned
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By Andrew Wong, 3rd April, 2000
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