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BAodn Blog: Demystifying the Development of An Organizational Vision
By Milano School alumna Erin Kenney
A vision is more ...
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Demystifying Vision


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Milano alum Erin Kenney writes about her professor Mark Lipton and his research on organization vision.

Published in: Business, Technology
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Demystifying Vision

  1. 1. BAodn Blog: Demystifying the Development of An Organizational Vision By Milano School alumna Erin Kenney A vision is more than just a mission statement, says Mark Lipton. In this brief article, a clear preamble to his 2003 book Guiding Growth, Lipton makes a strong argument that companies and organizations that manage using a positive vision can have powerful results. A vision can help employees understand what an organization stands for and what is expected of them. But having a vision is not enough, Lipton found. The key is effectively communicating that vision through the organization. With this tool, a vision can help “keep decision making in context”. In a fast paced consumer world, having that long-term view presents a road map to wanted outcomes. As Lipton puts it, a clearly understood vision creates a compass. But what exactly is a vision statement? Lipton’s formula is simply stated: Vision = Mission + Strategy + Culture. This is the organization’s purpose, how that purpose will be achieved and the values presented in the everyday attitudes of the organization. Lipton’s article walks through what a great vision can do for a company (with inspiring examples) and why and how a vision can fail. I’ve turned to Mr. Lipton’s articles and books about vision constantly since I was introduced to his theory in graduate school. I have found that keeping the vision present in tough conversations leads to a dramatic shift - a positive shift - in decision making. To simplify it drastically, having a vision is like the common saying about keeping an eye keenly on a goal - the obstacles tend to evaporate and the path to achieving those goals become clear. To be honest, I’m a devout optimist and I love thinking about a bright, happy, better future, which is why the vision theory is so appealing to me. How about those self proclaimed pessimists out there? Do you think a vision statement is right for every organization? Download the article: Erin Kenney holds a master's degree in Nonprofit Management and a post-master's certificate in Organizational Development from Milano The New School of Management in New York City. She currently is a freelance organizational consultant working on projects in the Bay Area.