How Do You Know If You Need A New Vision?
There are common warning signs of leadership problems in organizations, and more often than not, such problems can be traced to a lack of direction or uncertainty about the vision. Here are a few of the warning signs:
- Is there evidence of confusion about purpose? For example, are there frequent disagreements among your key people about which customers or clients should have priority, or which services or technologies are the most important to provide, or where the greatest threats and opportunities are likely to be found?
- Do your employees complain about insufficient challenge or say they’re not having fun anymore? Are they pessimistic about the future or cynical about the present?
- Is the organization loosing legitimacy, market position, or its reputation for innovation? Are new competitors emerging who are better serving your customers or constituents?
- Does your organization seem out-of-tune with trends in the environment? Do important outsiders like directors, clients, or investors sometimes suggest that your organization may be slipping or that it’s not keeping up with changes in technology or socioeconomic developments?
- Are there signs of a decline in pride within your organization? Are some of your people working only for their paychecks without a real sense of commitment or belonging?
- Is there excessive risk avoidance, with people abiding by their narrow job descriptions, unwilling to accept ownership or responsibility for new projects or resisting change?
- Is there an absence of a shared sense of progress or momentum? Is it difficult for some of your managers to articulate how much things are improving? Do they still fell they have an attractive future with the organization?
- Is there a hyperactive rumor mill, with people constantly trying to find out through the grapevine what is in store for them or the organization? Do people truly trust and respect top management?
If you see one or a few of these warning signs in your organization, then the chances are that the existing sense of direction is either not well communicated or understood or that the vision itself is no longer persuasive or inspiring to people.
Source: Nanus, B. (1992). Visionary Leadership: Creating A Compelling Sense Of Direction For Your Organization. San Francisco, Josey-Bass.