The Two-Sides of the Acumen Coin, Part I: Clarifying and Communicating Organizational Vision

Posted by Paradigm Learning on May 23, 2014


The importance of an organization’s vision is not small change. Yet, many companies don’t put enough thought and energy into articulating their vision. So, it’s no surprise when employees pay too little attention to what’s required of them as contributors to success.

Closing the “vision” to “execution” gap means significantly increasing understanding and commitment throughout the organization. Think of it in terms of the two sides of a coin: one side focused on the clarification and communication of organizational vision by senior leaders, and the other on the development of broad-based employee acumen and skills. Both must be in proper proportion for vision to be transformed into action.

Experience shows that it takes clarifying and communicating vision from the “heads” of senior leaders through to the “body” of managers and employees to turn new approaches into reality. Here’s why:

  • Alignment is a prerequisite for action. People, at every level, provide the essential links that bridge from strategy decisions to successful implementation. Their business acumen — the understanding of the financial and strategic drivers of their organization and where they fit into that picture—is critical.
  • Clarity is the catalyst for momentum. Key messages that are well-defined, clear and consistent supply the fuel that drives commitment and change from the inside of organizations out.
  • Effective communication is the key to commitment. Employees need to understand the vision of the business so that they “get it,” “commit to it,” and “execute it.” Anything less than broad agreement will short-change even the most conceptually sound growth or change initiatives.

There are many ways to put these ideas into words, but putting them into pictures as well generates even better results. Siemens Healthcare — a leading I.T. supplier to the healthcare industry — turned the vision of its organization into reality using a visual communication and engagement approach.

Are there unique ways that your organization has tackled one or both sides of the acumen coin? Have you used a successful approach to the clarification and communication of your leaders’ vision or to the development of company-wide business acumen?

Share your story, please!

Topics: Business Simulations, Business Acumen