Any true future facing vision and strategy setting debate should start with ‘why?’ – or, more importantly, ‘why not?’. When you get under the skin of this seemingly simple question though, it becomes incredibly complex, fraught and heartfelt very fast.
Many brand, business and marketing folk have started Introducing new names for vision and purpose into an important but already overcrowded and confused vision/higher purpose narrative. This seems unnecessary and potentially confusing. One such tag, ‘Just Cause’, sounds worthy enough but I fear that this, when looked at through the eyes of hard pressed, time poor and short-termist leaders, becomes a barrier rather than a liberator. Defining a ‘Just Cause’ is just too problematic and time consuming for most.
It is true that organisations need to re-imagine their vision, their contribution to the world and the thoughts and actions of all the people they interact with. Organisations need to re-think their future conduct, indeed their entire understanding of what it means to be an organisation, within new frames of reference based on fundamental changes in mind set and aspiration. Vision creation and defining the strategies that support it are already a big ask for most leadership teams. Just Cause and other new attempts to create differentiation are likely to put off the very people they are designed to attract.
Vision and the strategic implications of true visioning go much further than defining a ‘Just Cause’. The risk is that no matter how just the cause is, it becomes another bit of corporate blah blah where leaders self congratulate for creating it then do what they usually do with vision and purpose and decline to embed them fully, so they stay as a glossy, shiny piece of nonsense without meaning or value to anyone.
So let’s keep the language and the principles simple and save our energies for creating something truly meaningful.