I recently came across a very interesting ‘Discussion point’ posted in the ‘HR Professionals Group’ in LinkedIn. “How to do a Visioning Exercise?” By Mr Ganesan Nagaraj, Sr Manager of Vestas India.

Some excellent replies were posted. My own comments were – “the power of vision is what energizes an organization and its people. In a ‘Visioning Exercise” we have to inspire the owner-founder to search his/her soul and come with what are their true core values. The vision that emerges from the values and beliefs has to be communicated with simplicity and humility to all the people in the organization. They must relate to the vision meaningfully. Such a vision I believe will power a sustainable strategy”.

A value based vision can make the impossible into possible: The AIT

I have personally experienced the ‘Power of Vision’ as I was fortunate to be directly involved in the implementation of few highly inspiring visions of great leaders.

Gen BC Joshi (1935-1994)  Chief of Army Staff Indian Army

Gen BC Joshi (1935-1994) Chief of Army Staff Indian Army

One among them was Gen. B.C. Joshi, PVSM AVSM, ADC the then Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army. The Army Institute of Technology (An Institute par excellence) came into being because of Gen Bipin Joshi’s dream and firm belief that the children of all ranks of the Army needed an institute of excellence.

Army institute of Technology Pune

Army institute of Technology Pune

This would meet the aspirations of the soldiers who serve under difficult conditions in the forward areas where educational facilities are not available and the education of children suffers.

Most people believed this was one project that may not ever become a reality because of a ‘Supreme Court Judgment’ that laid down an exclusive and privately funded professional institute is not permitted. AIT was just not possible but for the leaders vision and it’s inspiring power. There was no one – high or low in the hierarchy (with a few exceptions who acted as our mentors) nor the AICTE, Pune University, State Govt. who said AIT project will come thru’. The AIT project team comprising my two officers and a handful of staff believed ‘It Will’. The contribution of the learned honorary counsel Mr KK Venugopal Sr Advocate of the Supreme Court who believed in the noble cause appeared was exemplary. The AIT empowered by the vision received the clearance of the Honorable Supreme Court and founded in August 1994 .

AIT Aerial view

AIT Aerial view

The Institute was completed in record time and inaugurated by Gen S. Roy Chaudhary PVSM, ADC on 24th Feb, 1995.

The singular contribution of the wonderful people who made the ‘impossible into possible’ will be honored in a separate post.

AIT motto "Onward to glory"

AIT motto "Onward to glory"

The AIT graduates today true to their motto “Onward to glory” are much sought after by some of the best MNCs and institutions worldwide. The AIT logo was a creative effort of the First and Second batch of young minds and my dedicated project team comprising Col OP Kalra and Col SP Bawa.

Corporate Vision

A few corporate examples of inspiring visions further strengthen the essence of a powerful vision being rooted in ‘deep values’ as can be seen below:

(a) “Vision Is Futuristic: To choose a direction, an executive must have developed a mental image of the possible and desirable future state of the organization. This image, which we call a vision, may be as vague as a dream or as precise as a goal or a mission statement.”

Prof Warren Bennis (right) with USC president Steven Sample

Prof Warren Bennis (right) with USC president Steven Sample

By Prof. Warren Bennis an American scholar, organizational consultant and author, widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of leadership studies.

(b) “Every organization has a destiny: a deep purpose that expresses the organization’s reason for existence. Visions exist on different levels of the organization’s identity”. Peter Senge, an engineer by training, perhaps best known for his 1990 book,

Peter Senge author of "The Fifth Discipline"

Peter Senge author of "The Fifth Discipline"

The Fifth Discipline, which introduced the idea of the “learning organization”. A professor at the MIT’s Sloan School of Management and founder of the Society for Organizational learning (SoL), has called for collaboration among business and non-business organizations to solve the problem of Global Warming which is the most daunting environmental problem of our time.

(c) “In full awareness of our responsibilities as manufacturer, we will devote ourselves to the progress and development of society and the well-being of people, thereby contributing to the growth of human civilization”.

Konosuke Matsushita

Konosuke Matsushita

Konosuke Matsushita began the journey in 1918 by inventing a two-way light socket. Profound in its import yet elegantly simple, Konosuke’s breakthrough led to what is now one of the world’s largest electronics companies. As he built Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., he never lost sight of the importance of putting the needs of his customers and the public first. Matsushita had a strong commitment to the spiritual, as well as the material well-being, of his employees. His leadership style earned him the title “god of management”.

Therefore when a vision is based on business philosophy of the founder leader, values and aspirations of the people it becomes futuristic, farsighted and long-term. The strategies also become sustainable and need tot be changed often.

Please offer your own views, questions or share your experience on ‘organizational vision’. You will enrich this post. Cheers.

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About dilipnaidu

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are reading, music, growing culinary herbs, playing golf and yoga. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

22 responses »

  1. negativethinkerr says:

    right! specially higher authorities must have a better look on upcoming future while making any decisions and its impact on upcoming time,because present decisions will serve as the base for upcoming future.

    Like

  2. Rohit Prasad says:

    Sir, I am your student from the first course and have followed your footsteps to join the Army along with about 25 others from my course. I recently read an article in the newspaper about a Supreme Court judgement regarding the medical college opened by the Army at the BH Delhi. This judgement stated that it was not in order to have 100% reservation for wards of Army personnel only, and that ‘a non minority institution’ cannot deny admission to any student on the basis of his background. I was very disturbed to read this and feel that this is a gross miscarriage of justice. Nobody can imagine the disadvantages service kids face as a result of frequent transfers and field postings. I am subject to the Army Act and am effectively muzzled. Would you please write something on how this will set a precedent for others to get a foothold in our colleges and what we as alumni can do? The alumni are of two types: mil and civ. Both have advantages and limitations when it comes to pressuring the government to let us be, for God’s sake!

    Like

    • Dilip says:

      Hey Rohit,

      To know that you are from the pioneer batch of AIT is just amazing. And great to know that you have joined the ‘Forces’. I am honored that you remembered me.

      I appreciate your feelings on what you have written. I am not in touch with events. My focus remains now on MBA Education and related academic issues. My take on this is that the present management is an enlightened one and they would do whatever is best in today’s changed scenario. Lets pin our hopes on our successors as they are much better positioned to do so.

      I thank you once again for sharing your concerns and wish that positive outcomes emerge on the issue under debate.

      With warm regards,

      Dilip

      Like

  3. Dilip says:

    Wow and hello Hargovind how well you have brought out the essence of a great strategy – dreaming and meticulous execution. And your kind words for the AIT start-up team are indeed a thoughtful tribute. Yes ‘our AIT’ once was Gen Bipin Joshi’s dream which no one believed would ever come true – it did. I guess where there is a will there is a way!

    My salutes to you for this lovely comment!
    Cheers!

    Like

  4. Hargovind says:

    Nice read Sir! However, the comment left by Lubna takes me to the discussion I had with one of my clients. One of the participants in my workshop said that as rise up the corporate ladder you are expected to start dreaming more and more. On a more lighter note he supported it by saying that while the people at tactical level are engrossed in the daily routine jobs and are left with little time to dream, its those at the top who could focus better on the job of dreaming. Having said that, My experience is that not all of us are blessed with the power to dream and hence, those who can they make it big or at least are more likely to make it big than the rest. However, the leaders job does not end with the articulation of the vision of the organization. I believe it just begins from there. It is of even greater importance to communicate that vision to the members of the team and the larger set of employees to create that necessary buy in which will eventually make the dream fly.

    I feel delighted that the team that realized our “AIT” dream was good at both. Dreaming and meticulous execution!!!

    Like

  5. Uday Gosain says:

    Dear Sir,

    Reading this message, I feel that I have a penchant of being a part of such missionary institutes. I am yet again a part of such a vision – in the Business Management Education world – in the first batch of The School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL), Gurgaon. It is a bold new experiment only coming to life by the determination to put that vision in action.

    A comment on the AIT Logo: Remember that initially on top the embedded T in the logo – there as a ‘dot’ instead of a ‘triangle’, which I got changed as it was looking more of a “family planning” logo of sorts!

    Bless AIT and Bless the visionaries.
    Gosain
    1998 E&TC

    Like

    • Dilip Naidu says:

      Dear Uday,

      I am thrilled and honored to have you a AIT alumnus of the First Batch call on. Great to know that you are doing a program in SOIL Gurgaon. I would love to know of the value creation happening at your institute and will surely follow up.

      Regarding the AIT logo creation – Yes Yes I remember vividly the dot was changed to the present small triangle based on your observation. I could never ever imagine that I would relive that moment. I am inspired to reproduce a quote below:

      “Life gives us brief moments with another…but sometimes in those brief moment we get memories that last a life time…” Anon

      Warm regards and best wishes 🙂

      Like

  6. Shveta Vashist Gaur says:

    One more thing Sir….it’s great to meet someone who does not carry the baggage of his own intellect and snese of achievement….

    Like

  7. Shveta Vashist Gaur says:

    Bang on Sir,
    It took me this long to get to reading your thoughts and now i know how much i missed.
    I must admit that it’s been a humbling experience to meet you,to see you ignore our foolishnes,to overlook our flaws and yet be there for us.
    I have read a lot on Buddhism,i follow it in fact.
    Vision it is….

    Like

    • Dilip Naidu says:

      Hi Shveta,

      What a pleasant surprise. I am honored that you a journalist of repute have read my post on the ‘Power of a Vision’. I truly believe a Vision works when the prerequisites are in place – great leadership that creates an organizational culture based on a strong value system.

      Hey its nice to know of you interest in Buddhism. I am always inspired by the power of its quotes and use them selectively for conveying the essence.

      And 🙂 lets get the records right – it is you along with your awesome colleagues who constantly kept the energy levels to its peak in a theory class. All you lovely people – I salute you! Thank you.

      Dilip

      Like

  8. Vedant says:

    Hi Sir

    I agree with the all above mentioned points about the Power of Vision. I just want to add few things with their comments. VISION… is future… If we thing about tomorrow then we have to start work from present day. We have so many great examples also like Lt. Sh. Dhirubhai Ambani; I think everybody knew his biography how he climbs the tree of success. Now if we see his company RELIANCE become the strong backbone of the Indian economy. Then, Lt. Sh. Rajiv Gandhi; ex PM of India had a dream to see India as a Hi Tech operated country in 21st centuary. As we see, we are now living in Hi Tech living standards. And now his Sh. Rahul Gandhi is forwarding his vision and walking on his path.

    Now I’ll tell you about daily life incidents which in our daily but we think of. For Example: Two common man. Almost same education qualification, hard working, dedication towards work, good nature human being. Both joined company & start working, after few year, Ist one got the promotion but not the other one. Do you know?WHY???

    Because he doesn’t have the vision to think about the future. He never sets the target for himself the after 5 years I have to reach at this place.

    DIFFERENCE IS ONLY OF VISION & THIS IS THE POWER.

    Thanks & Regards
    Vedant

    Like

  9. Vedant says:

    Hi Sir

    I agree with the all above mentioned points about the Power of Vision. I just want to add few points with their comments. VISION… is future… If we think about tomorrow then we have to start work from present day. We have so many great examples also like Late Sh. Dhirubhai Ambani; I think everybody knows his biography how he climbed the tree of success. Now if we see his company RELIANCE – it has become the strong backbone of the Indian economy. Then the Late Sh. Rajiv Gandhi ex PM of India had a dream to see India as a Hi Tech operative country in the 21st century. And we can see, we are now living in Hi Tech living standards. And now his son Sh. Rahul Gandhi is taking his vision forward and walking on his path.

    I’ll tell you that we see in our daily lives. Two men. Almost same education qualification, hard working, dedicated to their work, good human beings. Both joined the company & start working, after few year, the Ist gets the promotion but not the other one. Do you know?WHY???

    Because he doesn’t have the vision to think about the future. He never sets any targets for himself say for the next after 5 years.

    DIFFERENCE IS ONLY OF VISION & THIS Is THE POWER.

    Thanks & Regards
    Vedant

    Like

  10. Vision, I believe, is a very powerful tool… it can energise an organisation provided it is communicated effectively; but more essentially vision evolves from looking inward.
    As an head of the organisation it is not only important to believe in the vision but also communicate it effectively to the organisation to ensure that the organisation is all focused in the direction to achieve it.

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  11. @ TwinWellsGolfBud: ‘Vision is not Static and it takes several great leaders to keep it going’. It really Drives home the point about collective dreams with a selfless approach. Reference may be given of Mr. George Washington: “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”, still considered as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

    It really requires a common belief in the cause and service of selfless persons over generations.. so as to keep the primary cause alive while also keeping it relevance with the tide of time..

    Like

  12. TwinWellsGolfBud says:

    Great topic !!
    I agree with all the great comments about “Vision” above, I really like the ones that say that it defines the company and makes us all strive for that one common goal.

    If you take it one step further, in my mind the “Vision” of a company is not static and its really upto that leader or leaders to identify when the time for a particular vision has passed and how they need to redefine their vision to keep up with times and grow.

    For example if I was a company 100 years ago, with a vision to manufacture the best widgets for a Horse carriage, i would hope that the leaders would identify when that vision got outdated and redefined to may be serve the Auto Industry.

    So in my mind Vision is not Static and it takes several great leaders to keep it going.

    Like

  13. Lubna says:

    Dilip,
    I reached your blog through the comment that you left on “Go Kiss the World”. You have a truly inspiring blog.
    One issue as regards Vision, which I have seen, is that it remains something just on paper, if the message is not consisently driven downwards, especially after the promoter group has retired.
    Best,

    Like

  14. Imon says:

    Excellent post Dilip.

    Carl Jung once said, “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”

    A favourite workshop that I have designed, developed, and delivered to several thousand participants over the past dozen years in three countries is on Visioning and Goal Setting skills. Although I deliver a wide variety of other workshops, this one remains my favourite …

    Like

  15. Navinder Narang says:

    Excellent example given, sir.

    Much has been said and written about developing a Vision. I feel Vision is an automatic by-product of the feeling of oneness between the Leader and his organisation. Once the leader starts an organisation or the Organisation chooses him as a leader, the identification with the beliefs, values, and syatems of the organisation is so strong that at certain times and for brief periods, the leader ceases to be himself and instead becomes the organisation. And if the intent of the leader and the organisation are to create something that will benefit larger population, there extraordinary vision just happens – you dont have to get into a creative exercise to derive a vision. So, for a true vision to be generated, you must have an organisation that has the right DNA led by a leader with the right values. In some instances, leaders also have courage to first envision and then set about created the organisation with the right people (DNA).
    Yes, General BC Joshi was one of those rare leaders, who would have taken the Indian Army to greater heights, because he would have created a vision for the entire Army, but for his untimely demise.

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  16. yes Dilip vision is futuristic, vision is a combination of the current capabilities and future empowerments . vision is what makes you and me and many others like us to contribute to the greater benefit of the mankind. Hats off to General Joshi, a true son of the nation and soldier par excellence.
    Ramneek Kapoor
    author

    Like

  17. Gary Clayton says:

    Great post, Dilip.

    I think it is worth saying that visions do not have to be difficult. That is, some of the best organizational visions can appear before us practically fully formed, yet it may have taken us years to stumble upon it.

    An example is the Starbucks organization, which grew out of Schultz’s trip to Italy. He had been searching for years for a way to build a coffee-based business and in touring Italy, realized that the coffee houses offered an experience of comfort and community that was lacking in any coffee shop he had seen in the US. See my article on the Starbucks vision

    Hopefully, nearly every organization is formed and led based upon the leader’s perception of a vision that gives meaning to the organization or provides a belief of success. For instance, in retail sales with a physical presence, location is extremely important. The leader needs to have a clear vision as to how the particular store location, facade and interior will combine draw both first-time and repeat customers into the establishment. The vision extends beyond what is being sold to who is buying and how the physical plant supports that experience.

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