Development Cooperation Handbook/The development aid organization/The Organization’s Vision

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By vision in strategic management we mean the projection of a future status of an organization where the organization intends to arrive in order to concretize its reason d'etre, its values, its aspirations. In accordance with this vision the organization sets its objectives and motivates its actions.

A vision statement should summireze the organizational vision and generate a sense of pride and shared purpouse amongst the organization members . A Vision statement outlines what the organization wants to be. It concentrates on the future. It is a source of inspiration. It provides clear decision-making criteria.

Attention: Many people mistake vision statement for * mission statement. The Vision describes a future identity while the Mission serves as an ongoing and time-independent guide. The Mission describes why it is important to achieve the Vision. A Mission statement defines the purpose or broader goal for being in existence or in the business and can remain the same for decades if crafted well. A Vision statement is more specific in terms of both the future state and the time frame. Vision describes what will be achieved if the organization is successful. Which comes first? The mission statement or the vision statement? That depends. If you have a new start up business, new program or plan to re engineer your current services, then the vision will guide the mission statement and the rest of the strategic plan. If you have an established business where the mission is established, then many times, the mission guides the vision statement and the rest of the strategic plan. Either way, you need to know your fundamental purpose - the mission, your current situation in terms of internal resources and capabilities (strengths and/or weaknesses) and external conditions (opportunities and/or threats), and where you want to go - the vision for the future. It's important that you keep the end or desired result in sight from the start.

Features of an effective vision statement include:

  • Clarity and lack of ambiguity
  • Vivid and clear picture
  • Description of a bright future
  • Memorable and engaging wording
  • Realistic aspirations
  • Alignment with organizational values and culture

To become really effective, an organizational vision statement must (the theory states) become assimilated into the organization's culture. Leaders have the responsibility of communicating the vision regularly, creating narratives that illustrate the vision, acting as role-models by embodying the vision, creating short-term objectives compatible with the vision, and encouraging others to craft their own personal vision compatible with the organization's overall vision. In addition, mission statements need to conduct an internal assessment and an external assessment. The internal assessment should focus on how members inside the organization interpret their mission statement. The external assessment—which includes all of the businesses stakeholders—is valuable since it offers a different perspective. These discrepancies between these two assessments can give insight on the organization's mission statement effectiveness.