Why is it so important to have a compelling, actionable vision?
Author: Joe Heapy
You’re working in a complex and interconnected organisation with lots of competing priorities. No one really has the complete picture and each sees things from their own perspective. There’s a lot to be done and you’re not short of ideas for things you could do. But an important first step is missing.
Everyone has an opinion, but no one has surfaced one strong, exciting and motivating central idea that brings it all together. An idea that everybody can own and interpret with the fidelity necessary to ensure it’s seen as valuable and achievable.
Better planning of resource, partnerships and investment.
Having a solid vision for your service proposition and customer experience, one that excites, means that an accurate assessment of the current operation and change portfolio can be made, and clear recommendations put forward. A vision and roadmap enable leaders to define a clear set of steps and to plan projects, resources, partnerships and investment ahead of time.
Importantly, it becomes easier to make the really difficult decisions about what to stop doing, what to start and to continue. Investing in the development of a vision increases the quality of investment decisions down the line.
Set-up the case for transformational levels of investment.
Organisations with a clear vision for their service can stop investing time and resource in small, reactive and incremental changes. Instead, the case can be made for transformational levels of investment at the capability level, which can be made affordable over a longer period. Without this, teams may only be able to move forward with smaller pots of money and deliver only superficial change to the service and experience for customers.
“Companies that are vision-led returned 6 times more to shareholders than explicitly profit-driven rivals.”
Queensland University of Technology.
Your people need to feel motivated to change.
Many organisations focus on the “technical” delivery of a new solution and don’t engage with the adaptive work and emotional effort needed. Delivery to market requires motivation, and ultimately this comes from people seeing the worth in making a positive change. People need to feel part of that change. The vision needs to feel worth the effort and achievable.
Without a compelling vision, change is driven only by the need to fix what’s not working through uncoordinated effort. Given that significant amounts of design and change activity fail due to employee resistance and a lack of management support, the emotional connection that comes from a strong vision and a story well-told is about more than the ‘soft stuff'.
Senior stakeholders and shareholders need to see the business is moving forward.
When it comes to engaging senior stakeholders, it’s great to have a really big idea, the evidence and a concrete plan to back it up.
Front-line people need to feel motivated to provide great service.
As an example, in Engine’s 2015 annual consumer survey 62% of respondents considered the quality of service, in part delivered by people, to be the most influential factor in whether they’d recommend a service, far outweighing the impact of price (35%) or convenience (3%).
The importance of a compelling vision extends beyond the project or the programme. Those in customer operations and front-line roles also need to know where the business and the service are going. They too need to feel part of a positive change towards a compelling vision.
Five questions to test the strength and mojo of your vision.
Strong central idea. Is there one?
Insight and evidence. Is there any?
Excitement. Are the people I speak to excited about our vision?
Clear and communicable by others. Are senior people spreading the word?
The vision unblocks concerns and further resource. Are we gaining momentum with this vision?
If you need a stronger, more compelling and actionable vision for your service proposition and customer experience, we can help.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
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