Without a vision …

King Solomon once said that “without a vision the people perish”. And more recently George Washington Carver observed that “where there is no vision, there is no hope”. As someone who has been involved in strategy development for many years these statements are clearly true. But the converse is also true and with a vision, the people prosper.

I was reminded this morning how essential it is to not only have a clear vision but to continually use it as a touchstone for navigating the way forward. That is not to say that your organisation cannot or should not change and develop. We all need to be flexible and be able to adapt to changing circumstances, but not all change and growth is good or healthy. Your vision will provide you with a framework for making those difficult decisions about how your organisation remains effective in an increasingly difficult environment for the voluntary and community sector.

It seems to me that your vision should be the foundation on which your organisation is based. Vision keeps your organisations together. Vision keeps staff and volunteers of your organisation moving in the same direction and, crucially, the right direction.

Having a vision means having a mental image of going in a specific direction to accomplish some future objective, usually one that you cannot achieve by yourself. To realise the vision, you must grow, stretch, learn, and work beyond your present capabilities. However, too often we lose sight of the original vision and either settle for a smaller, more manageable goal, such as survival, or frantically change direction in a haphazard way and exhaust ourselves and our co-workers. Most of us have experienced losing sight of our vision in some area of our lives. And been frustrated by it.

Have you lost sight of your organisation’s mission, goals, and objectives?
How do you know if you have your organisation’s vision clearly in focus?
Can you still inspire others to pursue that vision, or is it too cloudy and out of reach?

If these observations ring true to you, what are you going to do about it. Please let me know. And if you have been there and regained that sharp vision, then please let me know how you managed to get back on track.