Featured Article: Seven Steps to a Better Organization
The Vision Process: Seven Steps to a Better Organization
by Matthew J. Bonnot and Carey W. Walker
When someone mentions the need for a vision in an organization, more seasoned leaders tend to roll their eyes at the concept and snicker and with good reason. New leaders seem to publish vision statements much the same way politicians promise to balance the budget. It is done with great hoopla and noise, but nothing seems to come of it. The vision statement goes into a file until the next leader takes over and publishes a new one. This happens for a couple of reasons. Vision statements are typically long, verbose declarations written in isolation, making them about as memorable as an annual shareholder report. On the rare occasions when they do pique our interest, they provide little direction for moving the organization into the future. In other words, they have no associated implementation plan. It does not have to be this way.
Members of the military are familiar with the term “commander’s intent.” It is a statement that provides the purpose and desired end state for an operation. It clearly articulates the conditions required for mission success, which increases shared understanding within the organization and drives individual initiative. Everyone in the organization is charged with understanding the commander’s intent.
Intent statements from military commanders, however, are for specific missions and operations. How can leaders capture this concept while casting a wider net and shifting the focus to the organization as a whole? How can they improve the organization while still operating to accomplish the mission? It is through a vision process…
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Matthew J. Bonnot is an assistant professor in the Department of Command and Leadership at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2011 as a Colonel after 25 years active duty. He holds a B.S. from the University of Central Missouri, an M.S. from Boston University, and an M.A. from the College of Naval Warfare.Carey W. Walker is an assistant professor in the Department of Command and Leadership at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2004 as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving 24 years in various infantry and staff assignments in the U.S. and overseas. He holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and an M.S. from Kansas State University.