Organizational Change Potential – A Shared Vision

Organizational Change Potential – A Shared Vision

Part 3 of 5: Continued from a Previous post

There are four common areas to address when preparing to implement change in your Organization:

  1. Pressure for Change
  2. A Shared Vision
  3. A Capacity to Translate to Execution
  4. A Realistic Workplan

Let’s talk about a Shared Vision.


What does having a Shared Vision mean?

From the book – A Beautiful Constraint (Source: &Strategy – adapted by Michael Hay):

We need a view of where we want to go, and why, which everyone needs to buy into. Without a shared vision, we run off in different directions — the very best outcome of which is that nothing gets done.

A shared vision starts at the top of the Organization. It begins with leadership establishing clear goals and objectives. Once those are established, the visions will need to be shared with the impacted part of the Organization. Regardless of their status in the Organization, every affected employee should be able to know two things: Why was the software purchased, and what the goals are objectives are? Once the vision is shared, the message needs to be referenced throughout the lifespan of the software implementation. Lastly, to ensure that the vision is being realized, there needs to be a standard set of goals and measures for achieving these goals. A vision may not have clear KPIs so the metrics for success have to be broad enough to measure success but not too detailed to prevent flexibility in implementation.

Why is a Shared Vision significant?

The definition of value, the goals and objectives, and the measures to achieve them is where the vision begins. At the same time, success criteria are required to ensure everyone knows what the goal is and what their role is in achieving that goal. (Side note: The implementations where I have struggled is when I don’t know what success looks like). In other words, the “shared” part is the accepted worldview to obtain that success (or value). It’s critical to have both elements. A defined vision or success criteria is essential to get to an end-point. While, a shared understanding of that success criteria will keep the focus on a single end-point – and perhaps, one way to get there.

In the book Value as a Service, Rob Bernshteyn postulates that the key to success in delivering value is having a shared vision internally at your Organization and having the same shared vision with your implementation team. Value – as such, needs to be agreed upon by any key party involved in delivering success. That sounds a lot like “a Shared Vision.”

What happens when you don’t have it?

From A Beautiful Constraint:

Without shared vision, we run off in different directions–the very best outcome of which is that nothing gets done.

The Affordable Care Act website release is an example of a project absent a shared vision. Why? There were no agreed-upon success criteria. Consultants and the Department of Health saw the website and its goals differently. The leadership was lacking, and communication was poor. Combine that with a back-end team that was disconnected from everyone – and the result was a massive initiative that fell flat on its face.

When an organization purchases software for many departments without a shared understanding of its value, the first department to embrace the technology usually modifies the definition of value to fit their needs. The problem can sometimes manifest into Burueacratic Anarchy as different departments fight for a competing vision. The result is that the other departments don’t embrace the purchased software. They don’t see their use cases or can’t agree with the altered vision, so they disengage. So they chose not to implement the software. This typically results in one department owning a software solution that is too complex and too large for their needs.

Though Pressure for Change is still essential, a shared and sustained vision is critical to implementing software intended to break down silos and create a more collaborative organization. Still – it’s the value that needs to be measured. And without all of the departments buying into the vision, the measurable value will remain elusive.

For more on the Affordable Care Act Website launch – here’s a report from the Washington Post.

Continue to Part 4

Supporting Music

Cannonball by The Breeders

Are You Going to Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz

Note: Originally posted January 29, 2018

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