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A little history Collins and Porras first attempts to create a framework that defined organisational vision seem to be documented

in their 1991 research paper, Organisational Vision and Visionary Organizations. This framework consisted of a Guiding Philosophy (in which purpose was driven by core beliefs and values) and a Tangible Image (in which mission led to the creation of a vivid description). Their framework was influenced by both the research later published in Built to Last and their work with a variety of organisations. It should also be said that, in creating a framework, Collins and Porras intended to remove some of the fuzziness surrounding vision: If we look at the literature on organizations and strategy, we find numerous terms for vision that sometimes are used synonomously, sometimes have partially overlapping meanings, and sometimes are intended to be totally distinct from each other. As one CEO told us: Ive come to believe that we need a vision to guide us, but I cant seem to get my hands on what vision isno-one has given me a satisfactory way of looking at vision that will help me to sort out this morass of words and set a coherent vision for my company. Its really frustrating! Eventually, the ideas first articulated here evolved into the framework many will now be familiar with from Built to Last and also Building Your Companys Vision published by Harvard Business Review in 1996:

For those of you unfamiliar with this framework, I hope to provide an introduction below. Core ideology For Collins and Porras, core ideology is absolutely integral to vision setting. Their use of the yin yang symbol was deliberate: core ideology is essentially meaningless without progress or movement towards the future, whilst a congruent vision cannot be created without a stable foundation. For a vision to be created, it is essential to first understand those elements of the organisation that will always remain unchanging. In the words of Collins and Porras themselves: Core ideology defines a companys timeless character. Its the glue that holds the enterprise together even when everything else is up for grabsa consistent identity that transcends product or market life cycles, technological breakthroughs, management fads, and individual leaders. Core values Core values are the handful of beliefs, guiding principles or tenets that are absolutely non-negotiable within an organisation. Imagine your own personal values: it may be that, in relationships, honesty, integrity and kindness are important to you; you may value courage, fearlessness and daring; or how about fun, humour and happiness? When you contemplate your personal values, you usually have a sense of what is truly important to youthe characteristics that you couldnt live without. For Collins and Porras, organisational core values are the samethey are as natural as breathing. Throughout their research, Collins and Porras consistently found that companies tend to have only a few core values, usually between three and fiveany more than this and they believe that core values are being confused with other factors. From their perspective, core means that a value is so fundamental and deeply held that [it] will change seldom, if ever. Consistent with this idea, they believe that values cannot be created but must instead be discovered. Although we all aspire to worthy ideologies, if a value is not authentic to the behaviour of your organisation, Collins and Porras suggest that treating it as core is likely to lead to justifiable cynacism. Instead, they believe that aspirations are more appropriate to an envisioned future. So, what does your organisation really believe in? There is no universally right set of core values and it is even likely that other organisations will hold at least some of the same core values as you. It is important however to determine those values that your organisation would hold steadfastly. To test whether a value is truly core, Collins suggests asking whether

you would want your organisation to stand for this value in 100 years time and he even goes so far as to ask whether you would continue to hold this core value even if at some point in time it became a competitive disadvantage? Core purpose In many ways, core purpose is similar to core values: it is natural and fundamental to an organisation, it is deeply held and unchanging, it need not be unique, and it must be discovered rather than created. For Collins and Porras, every organisation has a purpose, even if it hasnt been articulated yet. Purpose could be described as the heartbeat or soul of your organisationyour organisations most fundamental reason for being. Not to be confused with product lines, services or customers, purpose motivates and inspires. A true purpose grabs the soul of each organisational member and reflects their idealistic motivations for doing the work. For me, Collins and Porras best description of core purpose is: like a guiding star on the horizonforever pursued but never reached. Purpose guides and directs an organisation, it determines who fits within an organisation and who does not, it is the plumb line by which all other decisions should be measured. To determine your core purpose, Collins and Porras suggest asking questions such as: How could we frame the purpose of this organisation so that if you woke up tomorrow morning with enough money in the bank to retire, you would nevertheless keep working here? When telling your children and/or other loved ones what you do for a living, would you feel proud in describing your work in terms of this purpose? Envisioned future For Collins and Porras, an envisioned future is the means through which core ideology is translated into a tangible goal that stretches and challenges your organisation. Where core ideology resides in the background, ever-present and in the woodwork, an envisioned future is in the foreground, focusing peoples attention on a specific goal[it] is bold, exciting and emotionally charged. 10-to-30 year BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) Whilst all companies have goals, Collins and Porras found that visionary companies often had exceptionally bold and ambitious targets or, as Collins and Porras coined them, BHAGspronounced BEE-hags and shorthand for Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals. Unlike core purpose, a BHAG has a clear finish line and an organisation should be able to determine when the goal has been achieved. That said, for Collins and Porras, a BHAG should not be a sure betit will have perhaps only a 50% to 70% probability of success. However, an organisation should nonetheless believe that it can achieve the goal, something that Collins and Porras came to call the hubris factor. To set BHAGs requires a certain level of unreasonable self confidence or, at the very least, unreasonable self-ambition. The easiest way to explain BHAGs is to compare them to stretching and challenging personal goals. For example, I have reasonably good levels of fitness and enjoy exercising regularly but to set myself the goal of cycling from Lands End to John oGroats, completing an Ironman triathlon, or climbing Mount Everest would require extraordinary effort on my part. All of these goals are potentially within my reach should I ever wish to complete them but they are certainly no walk in the park! BHAGs are the 10-to-30 year organisational equivalent of these. What does your organisation wish to achieve in its future that would require extraordinary effort and perhaps a little luck? Perhaps the other thing that should be said about BHAGs is that, much like core ideology, they should be inspiring. To be honest, I have no real wish to climb Mount Everest at present, so I am unlikely to ever achieve it. Setting a BHAG simply for the sake of setting a goal is pointless. Rather, Collins and Porras suggest you should ask, Does it get our juices flowing? Do we find it stimulating? Does it spur forward momentum? Does it get people going? In their words: The envisioned future should be so exciting in its own right that it would continue to keep the organisation motivated even if the leaders who set the goal disappeared. Vivid description Unlike a BHAGwhich should be concise (usually no more than a sentence or phrase), easy to understand and capable of being expressed in a multitude of waysa vivid description is an organisations opportunity to express in detail what it will feel like to achieve their goal. For Collins and Porras, a vivid description is essential to making a BHAG tangible. Describing the achievement of the BHAG is about painting a picture with your wordsa vibrant, engaging picture that brings your goal to life. For example, climbing Mount Everest is certainly a goal but how would it really feel to stand on that peak and look out across the mountain ranges below? What else would have already been achieved along the way? Although it can be uncomfortable to express emotions in an organisational context and Collins and Porras readily acknowledge that some managers find this difficult, they also believe that passion, emotion and conviction are essential parts of [a] vivid description. It is precisely these ingredients that motivate others. We must dispose of the widely accepted norm that rationality should rein supreme, and that emotion should be kept in check. Creating the right mission and describing it with vivid detail should release peoples passion and generate the commitment organisations need to achieve high performance.

One of the methods that Collins and Porras advocate for developing a vivid description is to write an article that you would love to see published about your organisation in 10, 20, 30 years from now. Imagine that you have achieved your BHAG and a major newspaper or business magazine is writing about your organisationwhat would they say? A last word For Collins and Porras, their vision framework is about preserving the core (through the discovery of core ideology) and simultaneously stimulating progress (through the creation of an envisioned future). It is about managing both continuity and change. its not either core or progress. Its not even a nice balance between core and progress but rather two powerful elements, inextricably linked and both working at full force to the ultimate benefit of the institution. Collins and Porras believe that without vision, organizations have no chance of creating their future, they can only react t o it. In contrast, when vision becomes an explicit part of an organisations DNA, they believe that the organisation has inherent capabilities to achieve their goals, to outlast changes in leadership, to weather organisational storms and, ultimately, to prosper. Both authors acknowledge that an organisations journey will not always be smooth and it could even be said that visionary organisations will inevitably experience some failure but, in the words of Porras, The key point is that visionary companies display a remarkable resiliency to bounce back from adversity and shine over the long term. - See more at: http://www.stockerpartnership.com/blog/vision-values-and-purpose-according-to-collins-andporras/#sthash.Bj8rpUYI.dpuf