istock_manonmountaintopIn today’s FT, Martin Wolf cogently argues that neither of the two main UK political parties – Labour and Conservatives – has a clear vision for the future of this country. Instead, both parties are focused on sorting out immediate issues and being seen as competent, hoping that voters’ assessment of their competence and toughness will be enough to see them into power when the election is called.

But it’s not enough; it never is.

Without a future vision people find it difficult to engage with the necessary actions you may wish to take. And what is true for nations is equally true for businesses.

Being competent, efficient, organised, capable, operationally effective, systematic, rigorous, consistent, relentless, persistent, tough, decisive, analytical and thorough are all admirable qualities.

But people need a sense of where all this good stuff is taking them. They want to understand and believe in the goals you are trying to reach and the future you are trying to build.

Without this critical element, your teams may comply with your requests, but a capable organisation that also has a clear, compelling and shared sense of direction and purpose creates its own energy and momentum that can dramatically accelerate its performance.

The party that will win the next election is likely to be the one that can craft and communicate the most compelling future vision. And, as we come out of the recession, the companies that will best succeed are those that understand where they’re headed.

Do the people in your organisation share and buy into a common vision of the future?

© Stuart Cross 2010. All rights reserved.