Keeping it Real: Sustaining Vision While You Clear the Paper Jams

| March 8, 2019

by Nancy Greenwald

I’ve been thinking a lot about vision lately. Your company’s values and mission explain what you do and why you do it. A vision is loftier. Your organization’s vision sets a forward-looking goal, capturing what you hope to achieve. To attain your vision, every person who is a part of your organization and every aspect of your organization’s operations needs to be in alignment with your vision and values. Sounds great, but how do we make it work?

Maybe we need a new word. When you use the word “vision,” you tend to think of something external to you that you are looking at. But a company’s vision should not be something you look at passively. A company’s vision should inspire action. It should create energy and the will to make change happen. It should empower everyone within the organization, no matter what their position. A good vision helps organizations maintain focus. A good vision helps a company and its employees navigate complex projects, and it buffers employees through stressful situations, because they understand the goals and their purpose and role in helping to achieve goals. A good vision becomes an internal compass.

How do we communicate vision within an organization? We create tradition. Your company’s vision should be a part of interviews, employee training, and meetings. Your vision can have an online presence on your website and social media. You need to keep tying back to it. Is communicating a sense of purpose valuable to your employees? Yes! A recent report from the World Economic Forum found that a sense of purpose in work is the second most important criteria for Millennials considering a job, after salary.[i]

How do we weave vision into our day-to-day activities at work, even when we are clearing those annoying paper jams? I highly recommend the book “Traction,” by Gino Wickman.

“All over the world, business consultants frequently conduct multiday strategic planning sessions and charge tens of thousands of dollars for teaching what is theoretically great. The downside is that after making you feel warm and fuzzy about your direction, these same consultants rarely teach how to bring your vision down to the ground and make it work in the real world.”

Traction gives you a plan for making it real every day. It is a practical, straightforward plan for transforming your business’ vision from something external to something you sense, feel, and do every day.

The vision of the Construction Institute is: A network of visionary leaders and skilled professionals. Our mission is: To provide resources and forums for cross-industry collaboration. Our signature programs — the AEC Leadership Conference, the Women Who Build Summit, and the Annual Visionaries Forum — arose from the mission and vision of the institute. Our professional education programs align with our vision and mission. The focus is on leadership, communication and collaboration, and multidisciplinary conversations. That means the institute is nonhierarchical, with diverse professions represented, and professionals in diverse career stages in leadership positions, including young professionals on the board of directors. The power of our vision is something we create, contribute, and do. Our member logo allows our members to identify their commitment to the vision and mission of the institute. Our vision has inspired us to make significant changes and create new value for our members and for the industry. Our first book, “The Future of the Design and Construction Industry,” explores a vision for the future of our industry. Join us! Become a part of the next chapter.

Nancy Greenwald

Nancy Greenwald is the executive director of the Construction Institute. Learn more about the Institute at construction.org

[i] “Here’s What Millennials Really Want from Businesses, and Why” World Economic Forum, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/09/heres-what-millennials-really-want-from-business


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