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At a first glance, it might be argued that the concept of shared vision might be easily defined: a perspective on a certain fact on which a group of people agree. Even though, the idea of shared vision is more than that and it has even been brought to the status of a discipline by Peter Senge in his book, „The Fifth Discipline: The Art of Practice of the Learning Organization”.
The five disciplines which need to be studied for a successfull leadership of an organization are systems thinking personal mastery, mental models, shared vision and team learning. The first three refer rather to an individual participation, whileas the last two have group application..Thus, in Senge’s view, „The practice of shared vision involves the skills of unearthing shared “pictures of the future” that foster genuine commitment and enrollment rather than compliance.
” Moreover, this discipline requires openess and pictures of the future. Openess should be a characteristic of the way the people who decide upon the vision judge facts and decissions; thus they should be able to adopt other opinions and understand them. On the other hand, the expression „pictures of the future” refers to an imaginary representation of the future that would allow the development of presupositions which would later be transformed into visions.What it can be inffered from here is that a shared vision is the follow-up of a focus group which is usually made up of the managerial team of a company.
Thus, „with shared vision it no longer matters what we think but what thoughts and concepts we share with the team. In other words, shared vision is the point where we actually harness the horses so that we can get some work done”.It has been assumed that there are two types of shared vision: the first one, the explicit, is focused on capturing, communicating, and reconciling some individuals’ goals and methods for achieving them. The second conception refers to the fact that all organizations have an implicitly shared vision existing among its members and oftenly being identified with the corporate culture; this implicit shared vision also influences, at a significant level, how that organization’s projects are managed. In addition, it could be said that the corporate culture is strictly related to the type of organization it represents; therefore, there could be identified a lot of implicit shared visions.After identifying what shared vision is, we as a team have decided that the case of the explicit shared vision is rather the process which should be followed during our attempt to deal with our company’s general problems. Practically, the key factor for a successfull inforcement of a shared vision consists in reaching a unanimity level on the strategies we are going to adopt. We have not dealt with major problems, but we have only identified only usual ones which are specific to all companies: maintaining our position on the market, preserving a good relationship with and among the company’s employees and keeping the level of collaboration with our partners, which help us develop our business, at a successfull level.The first stage for enforcing an explicit shared vision consists in creating an initial vision. The ideas which compose it might be formulated by the general manager, or if he has not decided before the meeting of the board committee would take place, the initial vision could be otlined with the help of the other persons which occupy leading positions, either during one meeting – an alternative which is preferable, first of all because it is cheaper – either during an increased number of meetings.For example, in what the primary aim of each company, namely mantaining its position on the market, is concerned, the strategies which are going to be put into practice would be chosen with the help of the entire board commitee, and it usually needs more than one meeting. On the other hand, the policy of the company rearding its employees might be established only by the general manager and could be applied in a similar manner for all the employees. In what the relationship with the company’s partners is concerned, the decissions regarding its sustainability might need only one meeting, or let us say two. This could be put on the fact that the relationship with each partner, or at least with the most important ones, for example the main providers and the main distributors, can be put under the form of a project and each pf these projects would represent the task of some members of the board committee in part.The next step in enforcing an explicitly shared vision consists in translating the initial vision on which it has previously been agreed upon. If the initial vision has been thought only by the general manager, as we have supposed it would happen in the case of formulating a policy regarding the company’s employees, this stage would prove to be an easy one for him, since all he would have to do would be to gather his team and decide upon the ways of enforcing it. On the other hand though, if the initial vision would have been outlined with the help of all the leading members of the company, this stage would conssist in double-checking „that we have the problem scoped correctly, that we are clear about the way things are connected in feedback loops, and that we’re not falling victim to the archetypal mistakes of shifting the burden or exceeding the limits of growth. We also need to make sure that we align our project approach with the prevailing implicit vision of the company culture.”The third stage, namely selling the vision, is rather made of the activities of the project managers who have been elected to deal with the relationships with each partner of the company. Their duty at this stage would consist in convincing these partners of the necessity of enforcing the measures they have proposed. These attempts would properly be fulfilled with the help of the e-mails, an efficient web-site of the project and face-to-face meetings.The last stage, holding true to the vision, is practically the double-checking of the elements which form the shared vision. This activity could be well-performed through the use of some guiding questions, such as whether or not the goal of the project is still important and aligned to the company strategy, or if the project was to be started today, would it have the same purpose, what would happen if the project would be late or would cost more and whether or not the scope could be reduced and the criteria would still be successfully met. Even though the explicit shared vision seems to be suited for solving the general problems a company usually encounters, the implicit shared vision should not be omitted as well; practically, its main subject of concern has been the outlining of the corporate cultures, in order for the culture to match the business so as the company would resist in its part of the market. Things being much simplified, „our only goal is to establish what the culture is and then determine how we can best manage our projects without violating any unwritten rules”.All in all, even though it has recently appeared, the discipline of shared vision seeems to be of a great iumportance, especially for the big companies with an increased number of the board committee’s members.