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The importance of “Visioning” to Performance Management: Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog post we established that developing your Vision Concepts is an important element of your integrated (Corporate) Planning process within your performance management framework. So how do we further define an integrated (Corporate) Planning process?

Read part 1 here

An integrated (corporate) planning process enables the linking of inputs ($, FTE) and outputs (products, services) to the vision of an organisation. Ideally all organisations should be able to track and report on service/product delivery/sales through to the highest element i.e. your Vision, in the Corporate Planning process. By achieving this we can be assured that we are aligning limited resources to achieving our high level outcomes.

The following diagram illustrates one example of a Corporate Planning Hierarchy where resources, through actions/projects/initiatives are connected to the Vision:

Corporate Planning Hierarchy
It is this connection to the Vision through a Plan that is vital for successful organisations.

This moves us to the fundamental importance of Visioning to (Corporate) Performance Management.

So what do we mean by the term Performance Management? Performance Management can be described (in my words) as:

“The process of monitoring, assessing and modifying an organisation and its resources to achieve its business strategy (strategic directions) to ensure the short, medium and long term success of the organisation on behalf of its key stakeholders.”

Typically organisations (public or private) that focus only on short term service delivery or profit have increased failure rates over those who have a high level Performance Management blueprint to follow. Obviously short term achievement is important for meeting immediate performance metrics but these have to be tapped with the need for strategic evolvement in a dynamic and competitive marketplace.

Arguably the focus on short term achievement without measuring its impact from a strategic, “Visionary” aspect will in the long term impact the success or survival of the organisation in question. When we assess performance the linkage to where we want to go long term is critical. Failure to do this will facilitate dysfunctional decision making whilst undermining goal congruence within your organisation.

(Goal Congruence= employees working together to achieve common goals).

The conclusions are as follows:

The Visioning exercise is a critical, but sometimes undervalued element associated with high performing organisations, it:

  • provides a common understanding to what is in the long term importance to key stakeholders
  • develops the building blocks for the development of strategy or strategic directions which underpins effective decision making
  • ensures the allocation of limited resources is consistent with strategy and hence achieving the Vision

The impact of a performance management process that fails to link into the desired future of an organisation is ineffectual and arguably may be reinforcing a short term approach to decision making that could jeopardise the future success of the organisation.

In conclusion

It is crucial for all public and private sector organisations to establish a performance management framework that establishes a link between long term outcomes (achieving your Vision) and the Corporate/Business Planning process. By ensuring this you will more effectively align service delivery and the allocation of resources (i.e. the budget) to achieving your long term Vision.

As promised in Part 1, the Vision Concept Workshop Exercise

Vision Development Exercise using Vision Concepts

  • As a group brainstorm your desired vision concepts – To achieve this don’t worry about wordsmithing but develop 7-10 “clear concise statements”, no more than 7 words each, on what the desired future is. Remember there is no “ins or outs at this stage”, just let yourself go!
  • Now discuss each statement on the merits or otherwise, be sure to keep notes as invariably some fantastic strategy arises from this conversation as people will want to discuss the how. (Tip: a good strategic planner collates information as he or she goes to plug into their strategic planning framework at some later stage.)
  • Having gained some consensus, split into a few groups (4-6 is ideal) depending on the numbers and ask them to wordsmith a Vision statement to present to the group. Ensure that the groups understand that “futuristic” does not necessarily mean “flowery”. A good Vision statement is always meaningful but easy to remember and explain.

Hints

  • When undertaking Visioning exercises you can “park” draft Vision Statements and come back to them during subsequent planning sessions. In fact this sometimes helps to keep people on track.
  • When selecting groups try to ensure you balance personalities. Many quiet achievers don’t work well with more assertive types.
  • Don’t let the groups move into “Mission” mode, we are not talking what outputs or benefits here. Board members traditionally want to get straight to the “reason for being”. There will be plenty of time for that later.

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