A Cascade of Visions.
What's next in Vision Cascading?
The executive team committed to a vision cascading process. But what is this process? Is it just another top down thing? Another way for management to control and direct the workers?
Firstly, there is little about the process so far that is about control at all.
We just agree about one obvious thing.
That is this——if we have a vision, and a set of values, we better make sure that everything we do actually contributes to the achievement of the vision. And that everything is done in a way that is in line with the core values.
The vision cascading process is a commitment to act.
The work begins with me. Chief executives make sure that the organisation knows where it is going (vision) and how it should behave on the way there (values).
That is not to say that the chief executive is the only one who has the vision. Nor am I the only visionary. Nor can the vision be just my vision imposed on the organisation.
But it is me, whom the board will hold accountable if the organisation heads in twelve different directions at once, or if it has inconsistent values.
So my job is to ask the executive team to work with the rest of the organisation to check our work, every detail, big or small, against the vision and the values.
We have to be sure we are doing work that accomplishes our vision. And not doing work that does not.
And we have to be sure that we are doing this work in ways that express our core values.
One Vision Drive.
I invited the executive team to meet on Tuesday to discuss this process of cascading the vision.
First, John, Boyne and I shared a little of our insights and discoveries on our recent India visit.
Among the things we agreed among ourselves was that a commitment to a transformational development process was a fundamental part of our vision.
We wanted to commit ourselves, as leaders, to processes that would release the potential in people.
This is true for people in project communities, our supporters, and us.
We helped one another to make clear what we meant by terms like development, transform and empower.
We cannot take for granted that the words mean the same things to all.
Next we said, "What in the vision statement is helpful or unhelpful to me in my work?"
This also helped to make things clear.
What emerged was understanding and acceptance of the vision and values.
Next we committed ourselves to a workshop process so that we have common understanding and acceptance throughout World Vision. In every department. In every function.
After this we shall apply the vision and values to our work. We shall ask the question, "What are the key result areas required to achieve this vision and to act consistently with these values?"
A series of workshops will be held to do this. They will be held within existing structures, but each workshop will include a reflector or facilitator who comes from outside that group.
This person will help the group to connect with the wider organisation, helping us to see beyond the top of our desks, and challenging short-sightedness.
The process we described is really not a process at all. It is a framework for a process. How this work is done (processed) is a matter for you to work out in your teams.
Only when the vision is understood, accepted, and applied to our daily work can we truly say we live, not at two-vision drive, or eighty-vision drive, but at One Vision Drive.
Apres Le Deluge. . .
After the cascade, what?
One will be a Vision Challenge process. The corporate vision is not a static thing. We need to review it, challenge it, amend it as we change, and the world changes. We shall probably conduct a corporate-wide vision challenge process later in 1994.
Second, the real work. Change.
The vision cascade process is not warm fuzzies. It must be tough and results oriented.
We need to affirm those bits of our work that really do help us to accomplish the vision. Both the things we do, and the ways we do them.
And the other side of the coin too. We must stop doing those things that do not assist us to accomplish our vision. And those things that do not line up with our values.
How will we do that?
As we apply the vision and values we shall each one discover things that need to change.
We can and will change things we do in our own area.
And we shall work with colleagues on problems that can be fixed through collaboration.
Get a haircut, son!
I went to high school in the Sixties. Long hair was in fashion then. But not at Brisbane Boy's College.
The sportsmaster hated long hairs.
"When are you getting a haircut, son?"
"It's on the agenda for the weekend, sir."
I heard later that he told the whole teaching staff about this smart alec kid who had "an agenda for his weekends."
World Vision is not like my alma mater (Bill Walker went to the same school too). We don't care how long your hair is. Anything between the Krause/White/Downs variants and the Alley-/Ridler/Apokis variants is OK.
It is an example of how we live out our values. We value people. We act in ways that respect the dignity, uniqueness, and intrinsic worth of every person. . . . We celebrate the richness of diversity in human personality, culture and contribution.
At World Vision we put this to work by the avoidance of a strict dress code, and a complete absence of rules about how many ear-rings you can wear.
Colleagues put this freedom to work with responsibility, and a combination of tolerance and celebration.
But should the chief executive wear a pony tail?
That's the real question.
Christians must behave with integrity. We must be who we are and not who the image consultants tell us we need to be.
I have seen too many people who sacrificed their personal integrity by trying to become someone they were not.
And we must allow people the freedom to make these decisions themselves. I happily wear a tie even though I don't care for the fashion. Others would find a collar and tie a serious attack on their personal integrity.
Anyway, Judith loves it. And she loves telling the other Mums at school that she has to hurry home to do her husband's hair!