Get the Vision Right
John Kotter developed eight steps for a successful change in the organization. These includes increasing the urgency, building a guiding team, getting the vision right, communicating for buy-in, empowering action, creating of short-term wins, being persistent and making sure the change sticks (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). His third step (Get the vision right) talks bout the importance of developing an appropriate vision for the organization. The key aspects in this article are painting of the future picture, the relationship between plans, strategies, budgets and visions as well as the need for managing the pace of change. The author states that in order for large scale change to be successful, the guiding team is required to answer some questions that will provide a clear direction.
The questions to be answered include: What is the needed change? What is the vision for a new organization? What are the best ways of making the vision become a reality? Which change strategies are not acceptable? The best answers to all these questions will put an organization in the best position to implement the changes successfully. It is noted that most organizations have failed in their implementation of change due to the lack of clear direction or embracing insensible visions. This leads to disastrous consequences that are painful both to the organization and the employees.
The author argues that when an organization is pursuing large-scale change, strategies and visions are more important than budgets and plans. The plans and budgets are suitable for incremental changes that are predictable. However, it is difficult to extrapolate large-scale changes from the current situation. The author`s major idea is painting pictures of the future.
The guiding team needs to paint pictures of the future and make decisions that are suitable for the organization (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). By visualizing the future, the team is able to get a feeling of what the organization will be like beyond abstracts and numbers. It also helps in understanding the magnitude of changes for any given option. Although having finances is necessary, creating pictures of the future are more important for development of the company`s vision. Large-scale organizational changes involve four elements which help in directing action. These include budgets, strategies, plans and visions. Although the elements are different, they are greatly interrelated and they must work together for the success of an organization.
A budget is important for the financial aspects of the plan while the plan provides a step by step guidance on how a strategy should be implemented. The strategy is important for providing direction on how a vision should be achieved. Vision is the fourth element which is an end state that all plans as well as strategies lead to. The guiding team cannot create all the four elements on its own without involving other stakeholders. Different groups of people should be involved in order to provide the required information and help in creating the right process.
The author also talks about the importance of efficiency and customer service. He notes that most organizations are working on ways through which they can reduce expenses (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). This has compromised innovation and customer service. There is need to create service-oriented visions instead of focusing squarely on how to reduce costs. The article advocates for development of bold strategies that will enable the organization to achieve bold visions.
Proper strategies greatly contribute to the attainment of the vision. Another aspect mentioned by the author is time. The time required to implement the necessary changes is also very important. The pace of change must be carefully managed to ensure best results. Failure to regulate time may prevent an organization from getting the desired results.
I strongly agree with the perspective presented by the author in the article. Visualizing the future of an organization is very important as it enables the guiding team to come up with viable strategies. The modern business environment has become very competitive. The customer needs are ever changing and the number of firms has increased creating the need for continuous innovation. Before any change is implemented, the firm should predict what is likely to happen in future and include the projections in its change program. All the stakeholders should be involved in developing and implementing organizational change. This will enable the organization to get more views and generate acceptability of the final decision.
A good vision helps in providing direction to the organization on how to implement the necessary changes. This should be accompanied by proper strategies that provide a step by step guidance on how to implement the change. The plans, strategies and budgets can be useless if the vision is not right. Vision is therefore the most important element that in the implementation of large-scale changes. Much effort has to be focused on the creation of the right vision for the organization. This is best achieved through painting pictures of the future and selecting the best alternative that is suitable for the organization. This will help in creating and maintaining a competitive advantage for a firm.
John P. Kotter, Dan S. Cohen, 2002. The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations. Harvard business school press.