Where are you going? This is a question I frequently ask when I'm travelling. The answer to this question is the primary determinant for boarding the vehicle. When the vehicle in question doesn't go to the destination I have in mind, I don't board the vehicle. When the driver of the vehicle responds with shrugging one's shoulders, when I ask where the driver is heading to, I also don't board the vehicle.
The above seems like common sense. And yet, it seems rather uncommon that employees know where the organization they are apart of is heading to. Nor do many employees seem to care that much about it. And in a broader sense, many people are negligent and ignorant of where they are going individually, nor collectively in society.
Business objectives and vision
Short-term or mid-term objectives or goals are usually more widely known in organizations. These objectives can be expressed in Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Albeit that those objectives are usually not that inspiring to anybody, nobody really cares about those objectives intrinsically, besides saving your own fictitious identity.
Business objectives are (or should be) supportive to the direction (course) of the organisation, i.e. in support to where the organisation is heading to. And the direction the organisation is heading to is first and foremost lead by the vision of the organisation. The vision is at the core of any organism and organisation and is essential to its existence, being the prime motivator for every action. Every performed action is symbolical, i.e. every step is leading to the realization of the envisioned conception. Being that important, the vision of any organism (be it individual, you and me, or collectively: organization, society, nation, i.a.) is of key significance for all involved beings.
And to make matters even more striking is that the organisations themselves sometimes (or perhaps: often) don't seem to know where they are heading, let alone why. The underlying motives for reaching key business objectives are not well-known, and let themselves not be easily known, but seem to be rather covert. And when the underlying motives are expressed, or when they are overt, they tend to be marketing oriented instead of intrinsic motivation.
When underlying motives are marketing oriented, the motives are driven by the external/outside world (outside-in movement). When organisations are moved by outside circumstances and conditions (i.e. outside-in), sight is lost of any vision the organisation formerly might have had. The organisation is at that time drifting on the sea of external circumstances and has lost the navigator.
In the latter, motivation is turned away from inspiration and turned towards external circumstances and materialism. External circumstances (things that are and arise in the here and now) and materialism are not supportive of dreaming big. They are not supportive of visionaries. A visionary envisions beyond circumstances, beyond conditions, beyond materialism. Being visionary is quite the opposite of being defined by materialism. Big dreams, which turn into vast and unconventional visions, are the antithesis of conditions and conventionalities.
Organisations which aren't inspiring, don't have big beautiful dreams which are translated into a vision, leading the organisation ahead. Organisations without inspiring visions (or even without apparent vision at all) turn into corporations. Corporations are dead structures, not living and hence etymologically linked to 'corpse' (a dead body). Dead bodies are not inspired and aren't inspiring.
Authentic motives are intrinsic motives - performed movements (i.e. actions) which are driven by inspiration and inner motivation in pursuit of a vision. Authentic motives should be the inherent driving force that motivates the organization from the inside (inside-out movement). The underlying motives should be in the blood of the organisation - the blood of the organisation should be infused with the vision of the organisation, so that there's no doubt about it. Everybody should know the meaning of every individual action, where does it lead to?
An organisation does not exist when no-one is apart of it. When I join an organization, I become part of the whole - the whole which does not exist without parts, i.e. without you and me. I become solely responsible for the envisioned world the organisation is trying to create. I become the spokesman when in join a movement or organisation, supporting the cause. Without me/you (the part of the whole), the envisioned world will not be created, as there is no one supporting it.
When I join an organization, I connect myself to the spirit and the blood of the organization - my body becomes infused with the organisation's blood. I'd better make sure the blood is of high-quality and healthy and that the spirit is striving for a beautiful world. I'd better make sure that every step I symbolically take comes closer towards realizing my biggest dream. Aligning my vision with the organization's vision becomes therefore of prime significance.
I would like to know where I'm heading to when I'm boarding a train. Likewise, I would like to know where I'm heading to when I'm joining an organization. I would like to know, because connecting to a movement or organisation (or boarding a train) will lead to the chance of experiencing the destination or vision in the here and now - after some time. What other real and intrinsic motivation can there anyway be for joining an organization?
At the present, it's the question is not so much asked where the organization is heading. At the present, most organizations are about what external conditions can be provided to the potential employee. It is not about aligning visions. When one looks for a job, confined descriptions and circumstances seem to be the only determinants for accepting a job. "Q: Where are you heading? A: I'm giving you free drinks! Q: Where are you heading? A: You'll get free lunches! Q: Where are you heading? A: You'll be paid plentifully! Q: Where are you, oh, ..., forget about it: I'm aboard!"
It is of prime significance to align personal vision with the organisation's vision. When a part of the whole knows why the part is doing something, where it is leading to, the part becomes intrinsically motivated. The part becomes intrinsically motivated (more so that the external stimulation of money) in order to realize the vision into something to experience in the here and now. A lot of additional power becomes available when a part knows why that part is doing something and where it is leading to. When I know why I am doing something and to realize that because of the act in and of itself, the supported envisioned concept comes nearer, I am extra motivated. And with extra motivation, more power becomes available, which in turn will result in quicker realization of the vision. Win-win!
And here is also where a lot of obscurity lies: opening up about the inner motivations, of the individual and organization. Raising questions about an organization's true motivations can shine light upon the organization's values and ethics. Raising questions and answering questions can lead to inconvenient truths.
Motives are not always clearly seen nor easily distinguished - let alone the vision which is the foundation of these motives. Just having a glance at mythology (but also novels and movies) depict archetypal patterns which are abound in the rational mind.
The good thing is that nowadays meaning and purpose becomes more and more important. With the higher importance given to purpose (and doing something meaningful), motivation and vision become of significance. Because of individual growth, questions will be raised within organizations regarding vision and motivation. This trend goes hand in hand with the general raise of the level of conscious awareness, wanting to know what leads to what and the search for truth - on whatever level.
True agility and mindfulness are essential for the further unfolding of this trend, when those words/names are being coined or not. The inner characteristics or true agility and mindfulness are key ingredients for knowing oneself, knowing the organization, to start dreaming big, realigning external visions with internal visions, become authentic, sovereign and original. Transitioning away from the default outside-in motivation towards inside-out.
What is your vision? How does your vision align with your daily activities?