As a member of the Alexandria Unity Foundation Board of Directors we held our annual vision meeting this week. We were fortunate to have Dan Malmstrom, a professional who has used his expertise and knowledge on the power of vision to build numerous companies in his career, lead our efforts in this area.

Having been through this process a number of times throughout my career, it became very clear to me about the benefits of having a professional facilitate your visioning process. It allows all members of the team to be fully engaged in the vision of the organization without having to worry about the details of the process of getting there.

The Unity Foundation is in approximately it’s 8th year of existence and it is revealing to look back to see the impact that vision can have on an organization, and the confidence of what the vision process can drive in the future. The Foundation started with an idea from a couple of business leaders on a desire to drive unity within the community around Christianity in the marketplace. Seeing the traction that has developed in that area in Alexandria, and other communities that we have helped start similar organizations, gives us great confidence in our much bigger dreams that we feel we can now achieve in these communities going forward.

Vision is a clear depiction of a “preferred future” at a point in time. It is ideally developed and ratified by a unified team. One of the key aspects of the visioning process, is each member of the team sharing their personal vision for the organization, and then the assimilation of all the personal visions into a combined shared vision that will drive everyone towards the desired destination.

A clearly defined, well articulated shared vision can provide the following for an organization:

  • Helps the team grasp what is compelling about the destination
  • Provides specific direction for the development of the strategy that will be required
  • Generates passion versus obligatory compliance
  • Enlists enthusiastic engagement in the strategy and required goals to achieve the vision
  • Provides a reason for enlistment versus deflection when the journey gets tough
  • Provides a context to rationalize all decisions

After hearing everyone’s personal vision for The Unity Foundation, and pulling them together into a shared vision, I know I can’t wait to contribute to the achievement of our vision. We have a little more clarity to bring to it yet, but it will definitely be compelling, and will certainly drive direction and engagement with our team.

What observations have you found in developing either your personal or professional vision?