Monday, February 25, 2008

Where is Your Company Headed?

My husband is currently getting his masters degree in engineering management. Basically, it's a business degree for engineers. The principles are all the same whether it's engineering or a small business. He's learning all the ingredients necessary to run a successful business. In one of his classes his teacher compared the vision of a company to a rubber band. I thought it was worth looking into some more.

From what my husband can remember this idea is talked about in The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization - a book that I will be looking into some more. The analogy is that on one end of the rubber band is you. At the other end is your vision - where you see yourself going. This teacher defined vision as a short succinct, and inspiring statement of what the organization intends to become and to achieve at some point in the future, often stated in competitive terms. It describes aspirations for the future, without specifying the means that will be used to achieve those desired ends. It is the big thing is you want to accomplish - what you want to be known for or what you want your business to be known for. It should be unique and something you feel passionate about.

What happens when you have vision is the vision pulls you in the directions you want to go just like a rubber band. Everything you do is based upon that vision and is guided by it. It becomes you. All the strategies and goals you lay out and put into practice is guided by that vision. It pulls everything together. It makes everything you do worthwhile. It gives you meaning to what you are doing. This is so powerful. It is huge. Without a clear vision you might as well not even bother doing anything because you will be flailing around aimlessly going nowhere because you don't even know where you are going.

Once your vision is in place then you can lay out a strategy to reach the other end of the rubber band. Your strategy will lay out how you plan to accomplish this vision. In a business this is often done by becoming an expert or authority in a specific area. Strategy is more detailed than your vision. Once you have the vision and strategy down, you can then lay out specific measurable goals with time frames to make the vision come about.

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook

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