Why owners managers and MD's within SME need strategic advice and visionary thinking
Companies that enjoy enduring success have core values and a purpose that remains fixed, while their business strategies and practices adapt to a changing world.
Core values are essential to larger organisations and they drive the way the company operates at a level that transcends strategic objectives. Such values don’t change, although strategies and practices have to adapt endlessly to change. Core ideology defines what the company stands for and why it exists.
It is often the case that as leaders we tend to focus on the immediate priorities of meeting customers’ needs, resolving problems, managing and leading others. We are very effective at managing for today but less effective at preparing for tomorrow.
Successful organisations develop visionary thinking and future orientation and this often means changing or transforming the organisation. To be effective, visionary thinking and future orientation needs to be:
- Actively communicated by the organisation's leaders & demonstrated in practice.
- Durable and consistent – a vision should not change radically or frequently
- Clear and understandable so it can be directly applied and made relevant to the way people, at all levels of the organisation, operate.
Visionary thinking means developing a coherent description of your business in the future. This could be a description of the whole business or a specific area.
Importantly, this should make clear the connection between your thinking and the changes that are going on in the industry and your local market.
An essential element of visionary thinking is future orientation: the ability to communicate a clear view of the future of a business area – its aims and what it is achieving.
Future orientation applies to managers at all levels, whereas visionary thinking is most relevant to senior and mid-level managers.
A clear and dynamic vision of the future is invaluable because it:
- Inspires, mobilises and engages people, unlocking energy and commitment.
- Provides a clear focus for the future with guiding actions & decisions at all levels.
- Promotes confidence, determination and effectiveness.
- Helps to establish the culture of the organisation by emphasising the means as well as the ends.
- Promotes teamworking and ensures consistency, with everyone working towards the same goal.
Think of vision as the destination, not the journey.
Using your business vision
There is no single way todevelop visionary thinking and future orientation. However, successful leaders emphasise the following actions:
Decide what you want – don’t just accept what other people believe; decide for yourself what will be important in the future.
Trust your intuition – if you feel that a situation is changing and different, or if you have an idea that makes sense to you, explore it further.
Test your assumptions – new insights do not normally come from old information
Tap into the future – look for trends and try to understand why things are changing, not just how.
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