Thursday, July 31, 2014

ASQ Influential Voices: Start with Vision

In his blog this month, ASQ CEO, Bill Troy writes about organizational vision.  He shares a great example from his recent trip to a Volvo factory, where the vision is on the wall:

"By 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo."

The clarity and boldness behind a statement like this is inspiring!  Volvo is taking the idea of "error-proofing" to a whole new dimension.  They've abandoned the notion of managing within their "sphere of control", and have challenged their organization to accomplish something truly grand.  Fail or succeed, Volvo has created a vision for their organization.  Why is that so essential?

Imagine beginning a road trip without a destination, or set of destinations, in mind.  How could you possibly choose the right supplies, vehicle, resources, and/or people to join you?  In the same way, organizations must decide on their "destination" at the onset.  Sure, the course may change along the way as new obstacles and road blocks present themselves.  But having a clear vision of where you want to go, and why is vital.

A vision sets the direction and priority for the organization.  It provides a sense of clarity for all members.  Instantly, decisions become simpler and the necessary tactics come into focus.  It also becomes easier to measure progress and determine if/when you stray off course.

Unfortunately, a lot of management time and energy is spent trying to devise the "road map", when the destination hasn't yet been decided.  Start with vision, and everything else will follow.


  1. Vision is good for direction and then comes the work to attain the goal.

  2. As my Irish grandfather said, If you don't know where you are going when you set out then you will probably end up somewhere else!