If you were asked, “What is the vision of your organization?” How would you answer?
And what if you were asked, “What is your vision?”
Even if you have some kind of image of the future, when you are asked these questions afresh, you may not be able to answer immediately, or even if you can answer, you may be partial or not be able to express your intentions well.
Vision, in short, means “ an image of the future. Although it is a word often used in business, we don’t need it to live our lives today, and it doesn’t hinder us from tackling tasks at hand. So, when asked afresh, “What is your vision?” It is no wonder that we are often at a loss.
Nevertheless, I feel that vision is a very important concept in these times. In the chapters beginning with this article, I would like to explore vision in depth from the perspective of the ISHIKI(Consciousness) Management.
The relationship between individuals and organizations is changing
The first reason why I think vision is important nowadays is that the relationship between individuals and organizations is changing.As I have mentioned several times in previous articles, the relationship between the individual and the organization is changing from one in which the individual is subordinate to the organization to one in which the individual and the organization are collaborating with each other from an equal standpoint.
When individuals and organizations are on equal footing and collaborate with each other, what should be the basis for finding areas of mutual common interest?
Areas of mutual interest areas (A)
・Job description and commensurate salary.
・Functions required by the company and the individual’s specialty.
・Positions to be filled by the company and individuals with experience in those positions.
There is a way of thinking like (A). This is not to say that it is good or bad, but the premise of such a way of thinking is that it is an economy of exchange of value for value that has already been realized, and the time frame assumed is relatively short.
Areas of mutual interest (B)
・The business and organizational vision of the company and the career vision of the individual
・The company’s mission and the individual’s subjective truth (inner energy)
・The company’s organizational culture and the individual’s sense of values
What if we could align the areas of interest of the organization and the individual in terms of (B)? Wouldn’t it be exciting, not to mention logic? And if we can belong to a team that is able to achieve this alignment, we will feel a sense of unity.
The premise of this way of thinking is not the exchange economy of value for value that has already been realized, but a circular economy of mutual energy. A circular economy is one in which value is not exchanged on the spot for equivalent value, but by continuing to give it to others, it will come back to us in turn.
Also, the time frame is necessarily long. This is because a circular economy cannot be established in the short term. Even if it does not work in the short term, the circular economy is one in which what is given and what is received are balanced in the long term.
Vision is an essential concept when we value ideas such as ( B ). In the process of listening to and empathizing with each other’s subjective truths, we can come to an agreement on a concrete vision for the future, or we can create it together. Then, based on the vision that emerges from this process, we can work together on an equal footing for the long term.
I believe that this is the relationship between individuals and organizations in the future. I think the same can be said about the relationship between individuals and organizations, as well as between individuals who have the energy to create something new.
If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together
Mr. T, one of our new graduates who joined our company in 2009 and is one of our most experienced employees, told me that there is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
It’s a very impressive and lovely proverb, isn’t it?
I conduct the final interview for new graduates, and one of the questions I often receive is, “Most companies involved in adult education are relatively small, but how did your company manage to expand its business?”
The answer lies in this African proverb. There were three founding members of Alue, including myself, and the first thing we did when we got together was not to plan strategies or develop products, but to discuss our mission and vision.
The three of us shared a common wish to “provide good education to as many people as possible,” and from the beginning we envisioned expanding our organization and growing our business, rather than running a small business with just the three of us.
The choice was clear: “We want to go far, so we’re all going together.”
When we choose to go somewhere far away, we inevitably ask ourselves, “Where exactly are we going?” This is the vision.
It is not like we need to come up with a mission or a vision because we need a management philosophy when we establish a company. It’s not like we need to write our vision in the company profile on our website, so we think about the wording. It’s not like writing an essay for a recruitment ad because there is a space to write about the vision.
Vision is about a more fundamental level. There is an energy that comes from our own subjective truth, and when we decide to “go far together” in the choice of whether to go faster alone or go far together, it is something we naturally want to ask ourselves.
Where do we want to go?
Which mountains do we want to climb?
What kind of scenery do we want to see?
A vision is an expression of how we want to crystallize our inner energy.
Set our own KOKOROZASHI and let them watch over us
(KOKOROZASHI: A dream that is not only for you but also for the people around you)
We talked about how when we choose to go far together, we naturally want to think about our vision. Not only do we think about visions at the time of departure, but visions also play an important role in the journey of going far together.
It’s about being able to stay consistent over time.
Sometimes people are in good shape, and sometimes they are not. It depends a lot on the business situation, relationships, and other circumstances at the time. Even if we start out with great aspirations, there will be times when we feel like we are falling short.
In such a situation, having the initial KOKOROZASHI in the form of a vision makes it possible to have the KOKOROZASHI watch over us and to have the KOKOROZASHI encourage us. If we have a vision, we can “go back to the original intention.”
To use my own example, I have a vision to provide good education to as many people as possible. Currently, I am proud of the fact that I am able to provide good education to many customers and trainees, mainly large corporations, but the vision encourages me to go far whenever I feel satisfied with the current situation.
“Are you sure that’s enough?”
From the perspective of a team, I think it is also important to have a common vision of what everyone values and aims for, rather than relying on one person’s own intentions and decisions.
Of course, it is good to discuss and change the destination of the journey together during the journey. I think it is a very good process to discuss and change things that are common to everyone, but if we rely solely on the intentions and decisions of one person, we will not be able to make consistent efforts over the long term.
n my case, I am the President and CEO of Alue, but I cannot and should not change the vision of Alue just because of my own decision on the spot. The vision is not for any one person, but for the entire team.
In this way, by setting a vision, we can make our KOKOROZASHI look after themselves with consistency over the long term.
In this article, I talked about why vision is important now, and how in the current trend of changing relationships between individuals and organizations, vision is at the core of choosing to “go far together” and to work with consistency over the long term.
Here are the quests of the day. (If you’d like, please share your thoughts in the comments.)
・If you had ever made the choice to “go far, go together,” what choice would that have been?
・In what situations, if any, were you encouraged by your original KOKOROZASHI?