Vision Logs – the new way to do mission statememts

Practical steps towards maintaining a dynamic vision

Planning is crucial. Plans aren’t.

In the Management 3.0 paradigm the age-old ‘mission statement’ becomes a thing of the past. Instead you begin with a goal, but you execute with the goal of flowing. This perpetual re-visioning builds the institutional dynamics of resilience and adaptability.

The vision log is a monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual revisit and revision of your organization’s objectives. Here, instead of a static mission statement, you will create a shifting, growing journal chronicling the purpose of your entity’s existence. After every session publish a summary statement to show the evolving vision.

 Think big

Begin with a clear, definitive, and far-reaching description of what you hope to do; th e position you want to take in the market, how you want to impact customers, associates, investors, vendors, etc…

Additionally, write a synopsis of the conditions and issues that are most pressing on your goals. Describe the climate surrounding your endeavor. What are your biggest obstacles, who are your biggest (or most vexing) competitors? Include anything that is pertinent and discuss your plans to overcome these issues.

It is important to make this process an ongoing log, as opposed to a static statement. It will become a monthly journal that tracks the dynamic quality of your vision. The entire work is collaborative, the product of a group-think between principle stake holders.  The team leader can set the tone and parameters that will guide the other participants/owners. But before any collaboration, consider the following guideline for increasing the efficiency of your brainstorming:

Prepping for brainstorming raises efficacy.

Starting a group brainstorm session without doing some preparation can create inefficiency by causing people to fixate on the earliest ideas. Before every brainstorming session, send out a memo explaining the agenda or purpose of the session. Tell each participant to come up with 12 distinct ideas to begin the session. This gives everyone a chance to work alone in their own heads before coming to the group environment and will increase dramatically the number of ideas being discussed.

Dream forward – Design backward

Paint a picture of the future as big and bright as you can imagine. Then look at your available resources and work backwards from those limitations to create your first minimum viable product or service. This is part of the new psychology of business models.  Your minimum viable product  will be your first release; a deployable or demonstrable version of your product or service that you can test in the market place.

Stories in the agile process

From the minimum viable product you begin to develop your user stories. User stories are clearly defined goals from the point of the client/customer/end-user, leading up to the milestones or releases in your vision log. They only need enough detail so that those responsible for making them happen can give an estimate of the time, complexity, and potential problems involved in completing that story. Estimating is done in story points; these are values that indicate the difficulty of each story when compared to other stories on your list (backlog). Over time your organization will get better and better at estimating these user stories

Later in the agile process they you will break then down into the smaller user stories that make up your sprints. This happens in a sprint planning session.

Summary

Overall, let the vision log be a living, breathing, changing chronicle of your organization’s dreams and daring. Instead of being rigidly attached to one course of action, be open to where the flow of ambitions, markets, and reality will take your company.

(Credit for vision log illustration goes to Joe Fleming.)

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