The importance of “Visioning” to Performance Management: Part 1

The relevance of establishing a vision for successful organisations is well documented. Many organisations therefore dutifully undertake a range of exercises to develop a common Vision to guide them to where they want to be. So how important is the Vision and why? And what impact does it have on performance management?

In Part 1 of this blog post I will take you through the basics.

A Vision described in my own words:

“is a statement and/or a series of high level statements that describes the desired long term future for your organsiation and/or specific stakeholders.”

It is futuristic in that it reflects the ideal long-term result of achieving your corporate goals. An organisation’s Vision provides the long term line of sight or periscope view that aligns your strategy and ensures decision making is about where you need to be and not reactive to the current environment alone.

From a planning context a Vision is never achieved because it is changed before you get there. Various Visioning exercises encourage us to be idealistic or talk of pie in the sky outcomes. Understating the importance of this is a huge pitfall from a performance management context.

Visioning is the approach and process to develop and encapsulate your vision. There can be no Vision without Visioning!

Boards of Governance and indeed general management, however, can struggle to deal with setting a Vision, being much more comfortable dealing in the here and now, the reason for being (i.e. the Mission) and service or product plans. What may not be realised is that the very success of delivering and aligning resources to strategic direction is linked to establishing a common set of Vision Concepts to guide the total planning process. The development of Vision Concepts is an essential prerequisite to establishing a meaningful Vision.

This simple image below illustrates that you cannot have a “how are we going to get there” if you don’t have a where we want to be in the future!

The importance of “Visioning” to Performance Management

So what are Vision Concepts?

Vision Concepts are concise high level statements that describe your desired future. They provide not only the building blocks for establishing your Vision but importantly provide the platform to develop strategic direction for private and public sector organisations. By establishing desired long term Vision Concepts or outcomes we can provide the planning framework essential to build an integrated Corporate Planning Process. The Vision Concepts provide the linkages and guidance to Corporate Strategy.

How can you develop strategy “the first line of attack” without a clear idea what long term outcomes or objectives you want to achieve?

Clearly Strategy that is not linked to Vision Concepts is irrelevant and a Vision statement that does not reflect long term outcomes is meaningless.

Join me for Part 2 next week where we will discuss the fundamental importance of Visioning to (Corporate) Performance Management.

Also, try the simple “Vision Concept Workshop” exercise at the end of Part 2 to ascertain whether your organisation has identified “outcomes” that underpin the planning process. Once the exercise is completed compare the output with your Strategic Plan.

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