The role of vision in Strategic Doing

What is the role of “vision” in Strategic Doing? If you’ve read the book, or been to one of our trainings, you might be surprised that we’re even writing a post about this – we try to make the case that vision statements, at least, usually consume an inordinate amount of time for a group to construct, with little to no tangible payoff (and there’s at least one person out there that agrees with us). We stand by that statement – even though we have regular conversations with groups who are having a hard time shedding this habit. It’s a barrier that many Strategic Do-ers confront when they begin to work with a group. Old habits die hard – even when they’ve shown limited utility over a long period. In fact, they often camouflage the fact that there isn’t really much “doing” happening at all – the vision statement seems like a tangible deliverable from a group.

If you’re one of those people – or someone who’s passionate about vision as a building block of strategy – this week’s episode on the Agile Strategy Lab podcast is for you. John Morley (pictured at left) made a guest appearance at one of our first Third Thursdays. Here he makes the case for vision in a group’s strategic work. As you’ll hear from the conversation I have with John, there are some caveats, or at least some refinements to the proposition that vision is important. As is so often the case in Strategic Doing, the real answer to the question “What is the role of vision?” is “it depends.” John is well-positioned to explore the idea, from the vantage point of someone who’s worked in many different contexts – across continents, sectors, and developmental stages of organizations.

As you’ll hear, one critical caveat is that effective visions come out of conversations in which there is trust – and about that idea there should be no debate. Trust is the bedrock of Strategic Doing, and it’s the reason the very first rule of the discipline is to “create a safe space for open, focused conversation.”

Give the conversation a listen – and pass it along to colleagues who might be stuck in the visioning stage of their work.

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Liz Nilsen