In Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge, Warren G. Bennis and Burt Nanus most clearly conclude in the chapter titled "Vision and Organizations" that most organizations really do not have a clear vision of their goals. The authors also lay out many reasons for the lack of clear vision. Essentially, the authors see lack of vision as being due to current society's convoluted mix of values and lifestyles as well as being influenced by complications current technology brings.
As the authors state, over time, our current society has altered its values. For one thing, while society used to emphasize the importance of family, society is now placing the importance of work above the importance of family. Society has also reinterpreted what it sees as being a high-quality life in that it stresses the importance of working hard to earn more in order to be able to buy more. Society now equates owning possessions as fulfilling the so-called American dream, which they also equate to having a high-quality life. Other values they cite as having changed are "work ethic," "social responsibility of business," "rights of minorities," as well as others (p. 86). When values change, consumer needs also change. More importantly, if no one has a clear idea of what to value, then an organization will also fail to have a clear vision of what to offer consumers and what its organization should do in order to fulfill its goals of satisfying consumer needs and being profitable. The authors further assert that society's acceptance of so many different lifestyles as "social forms and social norms" is also inhibiting organizations from obtaining a clear vision (p. 86). Each new lifestyle demands its own products; therefore, it becomes even more difficult for organizations to clearly visualize all newly needed goals.
Finally, Bennis and Nanus further argue that the increases in technology have also muddied up the ability to see goals. Each new technological innovation has not only created a new product for our use, it has also created a brand new specialized expert who is primarily responsible for the innovation. The problem innovation brings is that, with each innovation, we also need more technical workers, and the task of finding more technical workers slows down production, which also makes it more difficult for organizations to visualize their goals.
Because the authors wrote a book on how companies must have a vision and describe how to move the company forward with that vision, the preexisting condition is that currently companies do not have a clear vision and are not as successful as they should be.
In this book, the authors propose that for an organization to be successful in the 21st century a shift in the way of thinking is necessary. A clear vision is needed.
The book exhibits 4 leadership strategies:
1. Create an appropriate and compelling view of the future
2. Use communication to make the vision happen
3. Position the organization in the outside world in a beneficial way
4. Use positive self-regard
The first reference provided has a word document with an overview of the book.
"When the organization has a clear sense of its purpose, direction, and desired future state and when this image is widely shared, individuals are able to find their own roles and feel empowered and energised.
"Leaders cannot inspire trust without two conditions:
- The leader’s vision for the organization must be clear, attractive, and attainable. Vision represents the context for shared beliefs in a common organizational purpose.
- The leader’s position must be clear. People want to know where the leader stands in relation to the organization and how he has positioned the organization relative to the environment. "
This was the first reference which didn't link correctly.