Vision
- from theory to practice step by step

What is vision and what should they bring?

In recent years, one word in particular has become associated with leadership: vision.  

A vision expresses the picture of the desirable, long-term future of the organization. It sets the direction for the organization's development and answers questions like: Where do we want to go? What does the ideal situation look like in three, five or seven years for our organization? And what do we want to achieve by then that we haven't achieved now?

The vision is thus the long-term guideline that the daily management task of setting direction and creating results navigates by. It goes without saying that leaders can only lead based on a vision if a vision has actually been formulated. This is where vision processes come in. A vision process is the phase where a vision is developed.

Visioning processes are often very participatory, and managers, employees, board members, politicians, business partners, citizens and customers are involved in providing input to the vision.

Among other things, they provide input on what improvements they want the organization to achieve, what dreams for the future the organization should realize, and what narratives should be created about the organization in the future. In other words, a vision must support desired changes.

Many people associate vision with a single 15-20 word sentence - but a vision is much more than that. The vision can be unfolded in a vision document - typically 3-5 pages long. This document contains a series of vision pillars that specify in prose text what the organization wants to achieve in the future. The vision itself is simply the sentence that summarizes the content of the vision document in a crisp one-liner that clarifies the direction of the organization's development in general terms.

What are the benefits of visioning processes?

There are several good reasons why your organization should formulate a vision. Research suggests that there are solid benefits to having a vision.

It can motivate and engage employees by acting as a shared agreement that unites the organization around a common dream to be realized.

Vision can play a crucial role when organizations need to implement major changes because it can help set a clear direction for what the organization should be moving from and to.  

And finally, a vision can help position your organization as a progressive, development-oriented organization that constantly strives to do a little better today than yesterday.  

Visioning process checklist

When conducting a visioning process in your organization, there are several points to keep in mind regarding the content of the vision. They all stem from the understanding of what a vision is: "The organization's picture of the desirable, long-term future." There are three words in that definition that are particularly worth dwelling on: "desirable", "future" and "image".

1) The vision must be desirable. In practice, this means that the vision must be worth striving for; it must be motivating for those who will contribute to achieving it.  

2) The vision must be future-oriented. It should be about the desirable future that is within sight but still out of reach.

3) Finally, the vision must be pictorial. The word "vision" comes from the Latin words "videre" meaning "to see" and "visio" meaning "sight". In other words, the vision is visual; it should create images of the desirable future.

aarhus water

Case: Leadership and organizational development in Aarhus Vand

Aarhus Water's business strategy towards 2025 builds on their Strategy 2020, which over more than 10 years has developed the company into one of the country's absolute leaders. Building on this creates even better opportunities to shape the water company of the future.

In developing the strategy, we have therefore explored four long-term scenarios that have helped us navigate a complex market that can develop in very different directions.

Read more about our collaboration on Aarhus Water's strategy development process towards 2025.

Visioning process checklist

When conducting a visioning process in your organization, there are several points to keep in mind regarding the content of the vision. They all stem from the understanding of what a vision is: "The organization's picture of the desirable, long-term future." There are three words in that definition that are particularly worth dwelling on: "desirable", "future" and "image".

1) The vision must be desirable. In practice, this means that the vision must be worth striving for; it must be motivating for those who will contribute to achieving it.  

2) The vision must be future-oriented. It should be about the desirable future that is within sight but still out of reach.

3) Finally, the vision must be pictorial. The word "vision" comes from the Latin words "videre" meaning "to see" and "visio" meaning "sight". In other words, the vision is visual; it should create images of the desirable future.

What do customers say about LEAD's approach to visioning processes?

"During 2022, LEAD and especially Christian Nyvang Qvick has been an important sparring partner and a valuable asset in the work of developing vision 2032 for Fredericia Municipality. From the start, Christian has been dedicated to designing a professional and well-planned vision process, where he has managed to get everyone involved and create a sense of security among everyone involved. Together with LEAD, we have conducted nine workshops with the City Council and a wide range of employees, citizens, businesses and volunteers from across the municipality. Christian's ability to balance the theoretical aspects of vision management with our practical reality and his ability to make the vision work relevant and understandable to everyone has created great value and provided invaluable input to the politicians' further work on setting a clear direction for Fredericia. I will always give LEAD and Christian Nyvang Qvick my warmest recommendations".

Anne De Place, Secretariat Manager, Fredericia Municipality.

How we can help you

We offer you management and organizational sparring, research-based teaching and presentations on visioning processes, as well as training courses with a specific focus on giving you and your organization general management skills. Read examples of our services here.

Presentations

Inspiring research-based presentations on visioning processes for all levels of your organization

Sparring

Sparring in connection with the development of your organization, your decisions and initiatives.

Workshop

Facilitation of active workshops focusing on competence development at management and executive level.

LEAD's approach to visioning processes

The successful visioning process needs two things: A high-quality vision document and ownership of the vision by those who will help realize it. At LEAD, we specialize in facilitating vision processes that contribute to both.

We have facilitated visioning processes in numerous public and private organizations - involving anywhere from 20 to 600 people.

Our services range from inspirational presentations on the essential points to consider when developing a vision, to facilitating long-term, large-scale participatory visioning processes where we support you in collecting, analyzing, condensing and compiling inputs into a vision document via e.g. workshops, conversation salons or interviews. In connection with the visioning process, we can help you develop your leaders in the discipline of vision leadership.

Contact us to learn more about what we can do for your organization

Are you facing an organizational change? Do you need strategic advice or a cultural development program?

Contact us and together we will tailor a process that develops the exact competencies and structures that strengthen and future-proof your organization.

Christian Nyvang Qvick

Partner

Cand.scient.pol

Cell phone: +45 26 79 85 93

Email: cnq@lead.eu