|Vision without a Cause.|
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Saturday, 12th January 2008
We wonder how many of you remember the movie `Rebel Without a Cause`- Rebel without a Cause is a 1955 film that tells a story of a rebellious teenager played by James Dean.
In this movie James Dean played the part of a rebel that did not have a cause that provided him direction, guidance and personal values to keep him on the straight and narrow path. The path to success.
Paradoxically to Dean in this movie, every effective leader I have ever known has had a vision. But, having a vision alone does not make you an effective leader. In fact there are hundreds of “Unsuccessful “companies and “Ineffective” leaders that have “Vision” statements posted on their web sites, in their brochures and even posted in their lobbies. A “Vision without a Cause”.
You see, almost anyone can have a vision but if you have a “vision without a cause” you are just a dreamer.
Let me repeat that --- “A vision without a cause” simply makes you a dreamer. I have known plenty of dreamers in my lifetime whose ship never has and never will come in.
So when I hear all this crap about “The Secret” and the “Law of Attraction” and all you have to do is visualize success, dream about success and it will come I want to puke. A cause makes you act and it’s acting upon your vision that creates success.
Think about this. You can have a vision but a cause has you. Martin Luther King had a vision, a dream but he also had a cause; a cause taken up by millions of followers. You see it’s the cause that spurs you into action and it takes action to create success.
So, what does that have to do with our everyday challenges in the business world? Simply put, forget about your company mission statement. Forget about your company vision statement. They are meaningless unless you can turn them into a cause. This can only be done by creating a strategic plan that engages the entire company; a strategic plan that turns that vision and mission statement into a cause.
Almost every company I have ever dealt with as a consultant had a vision statement or a mission statement but only a small percentage of them had a strategic plan that backed up that vision statement. Surprisingly, the majority of those that did have a strategic plan weren’t able to make it a cause. Consequently, the strategic plan was not successful.
Strategic planning is a key process that adjusts an organization's direction in response to a changing environment. It supports the fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide an organization. It takes the vision and turns it into a cause by providing a roadmap that is owned and supported by the entire company. A sound strategic plan can help define and focus a company's efforts to move in the right direction, using the best methods.
How does the Vision become a Cause
I cannot emphasize enough that the true value of a strategic plan is not in the document itself. It is in the process of creating it, involving many of your employees from the bottom up. This empowers them to be more effective and better-informed leaders, managers and decision makers.
Creating a culture that embraces empowerment and working together as a team is probably the most effective way to make the vision a cause and that’s what creates success. The more people work together and take ownership of the long term objectives the more unity and teamwork become a direct route to success. They own it. They have a cause.
Time after time I am told by prior clients that the real value they received from the strategic planning process was in the personal development of the strategy team members and the involvement of the entire company working together as a team in a team atmosphere. The results seemed almost automatic.
You are Handicapped Without a Cause, a Common Shared Vision and Ownership of the Plan
Strategic planning creates a team culture that is necessary for success. Working together effectively is not automatic. It takes a specific effort and the development of a cause that is supported by executive management. Shared experiences create unity and value. Knowledge transfer is essential for an organization to grow.
Without knowledge transfer and the sharing of the planning experience it is difficult for the group to have a cause and work toward common goals. More importantly, without the strategic planning experience it is much more difficult for employees to function together in such a manner that brings out the best in each other and the entire management team.
A Cause creates a Dynamic Force
It is not a natural occurrence for employees to stop thinking of each other as competitors and start working as a team. It is much more difficult to accomplish than it sounds. However, with a cause it becomes a natural by-product of the strategic planning process itself. More importantly, it fills a vital need if you want to create or maintain competitive advantage in your business.
A Strategic Plan that Becomes a Cause Provides Value That Includes:
1. More direct success in executing action plans and initiatives. Ownership of action items are imperative with timelines and defined desired results allowing the team to tackle more complex projects more efficiently than just individual managers.
2. The strategic planning process allows the development of more creative solutions because it leverages the creativity and innovation of all the strategy team members. When team members bounce ideas off of each other, they arrive at solutions that may never have emerged alone. Seeing things from different perspectives is invaluable when it comes to personal leadership development.
3. Commitment to ideas and plans become an exciting part of the process as employees take ownership of the initiatives. When employees are involved in a project from the start, they are more likely to be committed to the ideals it represents. They also develop the unique ability to pass that excitement, that commitment and that ownership on to the entire organization.
4. Strategic planning utilizing CEO Strategist’s proprietary team process that starts with the Owners/CEO End Game and empowers the team to develop the roadmap without being intimidated by the presence of the CEO creates empowerment throughout the group that encompasses focus, process, discipline and accountability for the achievement of the “End Game – Vision for the Future.” That ownership not only challenges the team to be creative but it releases discretionary energy throughout the organization. It becomes the “Cause”
5. The Cause which is the platform for strategic planning activities motivate your employees to deliver their very best effort on behalf of the company. The fundamental benefit of the planning process includes the development of the following:
Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution’s “Leadership Strategist”, founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to check out the Lead Wolf Series that can help you put more profit into your business.
- A Cause with a framework and a clearly defined direction with unified support
- A clear vision and purpose owned by all employees that becomes the Cause
- Enhanced employee commitment to the firm and its goals
- A set of priorities that matches company resources
- A trend analysis that generates the confidence to take risks
- Accountability built in to a control process