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Practice 4: Align Change Initiatives Around an Inspiring Vision of the Future

6 October, 2015 - 11:13

Change is difficult and often painful. People generally will not give up an idea, behavior, or mental model without latching onto something to replace it. The something that they need to hold onto is the shared vision of the future. In their analysis of over 10,000 successful change initiatives in organizations, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner found that the creation of an inspiring vision of the future was always present. 1As Peter Senge notes, “When there is a genuine vision (as opposed to the all-too-familiar ‘vision statement’), people excel and learn, not because they are told to, but because they want to.” 2And Jim Collins and Gerry Porras point out that “a visionary company doesn’t simply balance between idealism and profitability; it seeks to be highly idealistic and highly profitable.” 3In sum, a compelling and well communicated vision is key to bringing about change within an organizational system, and this principle is central to systems thinking.