The Concept of Vision As an Element in Successful Corporate Leadership

‘Without vision the people perish’ according to the Bible.

The concept of vision is widely considered as not only an element in corporate leadership but in successful corporate leadership. What then is corporate vision and its role in corporate Colonel Kevin W. Farrell ?

Vision is the way one sees what, how, where, and sometimes who one wants to be; or for a company, where, what or how the company is going to be in the future. It is in the subconscious mind not the eyes. Vision is created. It is a creation of visualized idea or ideas one considers when carrying about or engaged in any undertaking. These ideas, which later on are crafted into the direction the organization will be taking, form a kind of picture in the mind of the person; waiting to be nurtured into reality.

Vision is very pivotal in the plans of any organization; actually it forms the basis of any organisationâ019s mission statement and strategy from which the business plan is formed.

Corporate leadership on the hand is or could in simple terms be described as how an organization is led.

It is normally the lifeline of any organization either a start-up or an existing company but to be a successful corporate leader takes a good vision. Thus given the fact that a business plan has been formed on the basis of a good corporate vision, may suggest that a successful organization is in the offing as a result of good and effective leadership. It will also show that the leadership is organized.

Success is subjective and could be measured by any benchmark; however, in corporate terms, it is usually measured in terms of achieving the targets set according to the plans of the organization which has already been mentioned earlier on as emanating from the vision of the organization.

Corporate vision is normally the preserve of an entrepreneur (who could be the Chairman, CEO, or simply someone who sits on the Board), even though it can be reframed by the whole leadership from time to time. Writing in a business journal, someone commented that ‘for the majority of companies, defined visions and mission statements are nothing. The exercise of crafting them is a waste of time and talent if vision statements are used for nothing but published in the annual report and copied to the reception area… To be able to energize employees towards corporate objectives, visions should be more than a sign on the wall and managers should live them, believe them, and constantly communicate to employees’.[1] In other words, the leader’s vision of the future must be communicated to all and sundry in the organization to produce the required results. If that is done, then the benefits of vision which are among the following will manifest themselves in the leadership of the organization thereby making them successful:

* Sense of direction: vision basically gives the leadership a sense of direction. In a simple but important illustration, when one sets out from the house and jumps into a car; as soon as the car moves, it goes to a particular direction even if the steer is not controlled. The direction given by the vision of the leadership is usually deemed by the organization as important and gets the memberâ019s backing.

* Focus: the vision of the leadership puts the organization in shape to be able to focus on relevant strategic issues at all levels in the organization. It is believed that a clearly focused and committed organization with strong visible leadership can accomplish any task which they set themselves to undertake.

* Visionary leadership: with a vision usually comes a visionary leader. It is a role normally taken either by the leader who is not in an executive position to alienate him or herself from what I describe as ‘direct decision-making process’ but then wield greater influence on the decision makers by creating a conducive environment, inspiration and charisma for the organization’s leadership to make informed decisions, an example of such a leader is Sir Richard Branson of Virgin; or by one in an executive position, the visionary leader is always ‘ahead of the competition’ by making critical decisions based on his sense of vision; an example of such a leader is BP’s CEO, John Browne when he launched the ad campaign “Beyond Petroleum” linking emissions and global warming which granted him successful access to both Russia(as the first Western oil company to do so) and the US as the leading oil and gas producer with both ventures putting BP back on its toes.[2]

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