"Vision is 'I have a dream' culture is 'this is how we march.'"
In the above quote, John Maxwell uses the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. to illustrate how leadership and culture are intertwined. Some business leaders I know see vision as more important than culture, others see it the reverse. I think vision and culture are two sides of the same coin.
“Vision and culture are two sides of the same coin.”
As leaders, we are charged with developing a vision for our organizations. What’s my overall vision? I want Stathakis to become the standard for operational excellence and customer service by which every company in our industry is measured.
I have gone to great lengths to understand where I want us as an organization to go and to articulate my vision to my teams. We have also worked hard here at Stathakis to create a great culture because without the right culture, your vision is just a good idea.
“Without the right culture, your vision is just a good idea.”
Vision is about ‘one day we will be this” whereas culture is ‘everyday we do this.” Culture supports realizing your vision and yet without a vision of where you want to be, a great organizational culture is like is like a high performing vehicle with no gas or road map. You might like where you sit but you aren’t going anywhere. Great organizations still need visionary leaders to set the course.
“Without a vision of where you want to be, a great culture is like is like a high performing vehicle with no gas or road map.”
And there is another element that comes into play here and that is values. When you have one set of values that aligns with your vision—like excellence, value, follow through and such but the values demonstrated by your culture don’t align with your vision, you are going to get stuck on the road to your vision. This is why it is imperative to continually examine your culture to work to make what you do everyday align with where you want to eventually be. If your vision is to be fit and healthy but your culture is such that you eat fast food daily and haven’t seen the gym since you signed up your vision is just a good idea that won’t happen. So you can see that your vision as a leader and the organizational culture you create are interdependent and you can’t really effectively lead without both.