Bryson. chapter 8 . establishing an effective organizational vision for the future
Bryson Chapter 8
Establishing an Effective Organizational
Vision for the Future
The purpose of step 8 in the strategic planning
process is to develop a clear and succinct
description of what the organization should look
like as it successfully implements its strategies,
achieves its potential and creates significant
This description is the organization’s vision of
success. Typically, this vision of success is more
important as a guide to implementing strategy
than it is to formulating it.
Mission vs Vision
A mission outlines the organizational purpose,
whereas a vision goes on to describe how the
organization should look when it is working
extremely well in relation to its environment and
1. To provide suitable guidance and motivation, the vision should
detail the following attributes of the organization:
-Basic philosophy, core values, and cultural
-Goals, if they have been established
- Basic strategies
-Performance criteria ( such as key success
-Important decision making rules
-Ethical standards expected of all employees
- The vision statement should emphasize purposes, behavior,
performance criteria, decision rules, and standards that
serve the public rather than the organization and create
value. The guidance offered should be specific and
- The vision should clarify , be relatively action
oriented and future oriented, reflect high ideals and
challenging ambition and capture the organization’s
uniqueness and distinctive competencies. The vision
should also be relatively short and inspiring.
2. The vision statement should be widely circulated
among organizational members and other key
stakeholders after appropriate reviews and sign-offs.
3. The vision should be used to inform major and minor
organizational decisions and actions.
1. A fully developed vision of success provides a capsule
theory of the organization: that is, its theory of what
it should do and how it should do to achieve success
by altering the world in some important way.
2. Organizational members are given specific, reasonable, and
supportive guidance about what is expected of them and why.
They see how they fit into the organization’s big picture
3. A vision of success makes it easier for people to discriminate
between preferred and undesirable actions and outcomes and
thus produce more of what is preferred.
4. If there is agreement on the vision and if clear guidance and
decision rules can be derived from that vision, the organization
will gain power and efficiency. Less time will be spent on
debating what to do , how to do it, and why, and more time
devoted to simply getting on with it.
5. A vision of success provides a way to claim or affirm the future in
the present and thereby invent one’s own preferred future.
6. A clear, yet reasonable vision of success, creates a useful tension
between is and ought, the world as it is and the world as we
would like it to be.
7. A well articulated vision of success will help people implicitly
recognize the barriers to realizing the vision.
8. An inspiring vision of success can supply another source of
motivation: clarification of a vocation tied to a calling.
9. A clear vision of success provides an effective substitute for
leadership. People are able to lead and manage themselves
when they are given clear guidance on the organization’s
direction and behavioral expectations. More effective decision
making can occur both at a distance from the center of the
organization and from the top of the hierarchy.
10. An agreed-upon vision may contribute to a significant reduction
in the level of organizational conflict.
11. A well thought out vision can help the organization stay attuned
to the environment and develop its capacities to deal with the
almost inevitable crises characteristic of organizational life.
12. To the extent that the vision of success is widely shared, it
lends the organization an air of virtue. A vision of success
provides important permission, justification, and legitimization
to the actions and decisions that accord with the vision at the
same time it establishes boundaries of permitted behavior.
1. Remember that in most cases a vision of
success is not necessary to improve
2. In most cases, wait until the organization
goes through one or two cycles of strategic
planning before trying to develop a vision
3. Include in the vision of success the desired
outcomes listed in chapter 8.
4. Ensure that the vision of success grows out
of past decisions and actions as much as
Process Guidelines, con’t
5. Remember that a vision of success should be inspirational. An inspirational
a. Focuses on a better future
b. Encourages hopes, dreams, and noble
c. Builds on (or reinterprets) the
organization’s history and culture to appeal
to high ideals and common values
d. Clarifies purpose and direction
e. States positive outcomes
f. Emphasizes the organization’s uniqueness and
g. Emphasizes the strengths of a unified group
h. Uses words, pictures, images and metaphors
i. Communicates enthusiasm, kindles excitement, and fosters
commitment and dedication.
Think about Martin Luther King Jr.’s “ I Have a Dream” speech and you have a
clear example of an inspirational vision of success, focused in this instance on
the better future of an integrated society.
Process Guidelines, con’t
6. Remember that an effective vision of success will
embody the appropriate degree of tension to prompt
effective organizational change.
7. Consider starting the construction of a vision of
success by having strategic planning team members
draft visions of success ( or at least relatively
detailed outlines) individually.
8. Use a normative process to review the vision of
success. ( Review sessions can be structured
according to the agenda suggested for the review of
the strategic plan, Chapter 7)
9. Be aware that consensus on the vision statement
among key decision makers is highly desirable but
may not be absolutely necessary.
10. Arrange for the vision of success to be widely
disseminated and discussed.