Just about every company in the world seems to have a rather well defined Mission and Vision Statement, and that is great.
The Mission statement allows companies to have a clear understanding of the short-term goals and medium and long-term objectives. And that’s also great.
The destiny of most companies’ Vision Statement, however, has been rather tragic. Their Vision statement, which is supposed to provide them with a clear view and understanding of their highest purpose, i.e., to go beyond mere goals and objectives, seems to have fallen into oblivion and serve no practical purpose whatsoever, except perhaps to boost the CEO’s ego. And it is even worse when the CEO’s highest purpose is just to make money.
The tragedy and irony of this situation are multiple, given the current pressing requirements of our ever-more uncertain world. To begin with, most companies are in desperate need to transform their workforce into all sorts of superlatives, e.g., most highly committed, innovative, collaborative, creative, engaged, empowered, etc., etc., workforce.
The tragic part is that although most companies are interested in becoming sustainable in an increasingly turbulent and competitive global business environment, they seem to have no clear understanding of how to do it, or find themselves unable to transform their organizational DNA from the typical tropophobic bureaucracy i.e., restrictive dominant hierarchy, into an enhancive, non-dominant, hierarchy, or Tropophilic system.
The irony is in the fact that all companies have the answer right in front of them, namely, their Vision Statement!
Yes, the Vision statement is supposed to be their highest purpose, i.e., their ideal!
An ideal, by definition, is unattainable in a given time and space, but endlessly approachable. And it is precisely this apparently endless pursuit what builds in the sustainability factor into any undertaking. I say “apparently endless pursuit” because the magic, if you will, of ideal-seeking behaviour, as opposed to mere goal-seeking behaviour, is that it keeps the motivation continuously alive ( Day-1 Always Attitude) and, thus, can turn an ideal into a long-term objective and eventually into a short-term goal and finally a reality. Examples abound throughout human history, for it has been ideal-seeking behavior the power behind every inch of human progress since the dawn of civilization.
Most companies, however, get lost and succumb into the hands of perhaps well-intended but ignorant organizational consultants who only deal with symptoms or, even worse, CEOs whose only goal is making money at any cost, which, if attainable, is not sustainable. To be sustainable, making money must be a consequence of a higher purpose e.g., to provide the highest-quality product/service and the best customer experience in the most efficient manner.
Sustainability can only be built when profit is viewed as a consequence of a company’s higher purpose, i.e., its Vision statement. But, in order to accomplish this, the right organizational design principles based on moral authority must be in place so that a culture of trust, transparency, empowerment, and integrity emerges sustainably.
In summary, the root of the problem is the lack of vision and moral authority.
To ensure that everyone in the organization understands and believes in their higher purpose the appropriate organizational design principles must be in place and provide a true and sustainable life to the company’s highest purpose based on moral authority and its Vision statement.
A Toast To The Higher Purpose Of Your Organization!
JC Wandemberg Ph.D.
President & Founder
About the author: Dr. Wandemberg is an independent consultant, professor, and analyst of economic, environmental, social, managerial, marketing, and political issues. For the past 30 years Dr. Wandemberg has collaborated with corporations, communities, and organizations to integrate sustainability through self-transformation processes and Open Systems Design Principles, thus, catalyzing a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.