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The Corporate Toolkit Part 3 – How to lead organisational change in a complex world – Setting a vision and creating a strategy

The Corporate Toolkit Part 3 – How to lead organisational change in a complex world – Setting a vision and creating a strategy
November 10, 2016 Chris Cherrington

Setting a vision and creating a strategy.

Now that you have established your team or “guiding coalition” you can work with them to clarify the need to change, agree the organisation’s purpose, define a vision of the future and create a strategy.


“People want to know Why you do what you do before they really care about What you do”.
Simon Sinek

In its simplest form the organisation’s purpose is its reason for existing. It answers the question “Why do you do what you do? ” It should be inspirational and express how the organisation impacts those people, including customers, clients, and beneficiaries, it it trying to serve.

It needs to be brief enough that it is memorable but broad enough that it can guide everyones’ actions on a daily basis.

There are many examples:

“To help people achieve their ambitions in the right way” Barclays Bank

“Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive” Kellogg

“To help people manage risk and recover from the hardship of unexpected loss” IAG


A vision is an aspirational organisational goal. Everything that you do should be taking you towards your vision. If it’s not you shouldn’t be doing it. A vision should follow a few simple guidelines. It needs to be:

1. Imaginable
2. Desirable
3. Feasible
4. Focused
5. Flexible
6. Communicable


Once you have established your purpose and vision you can develop a strategy. The strategy defines how you are going to deliver against your purpose and move towards achieving your vision.

An example is a company I worked with a few years ago whose primary business had been the design and development of micro turbo propulsion systems. The business had 2 divisions. The product design and development division and the service division which serviced helicopters. Product design and development had historically been the dominant business and the strategy had driven a product sales culture.

From analysis of the market the organisation realised the customer and their need had changed. The service business was going to grow and the product development business was not. As a result the organisation reviewed and re-defined its purpose and set a new vision for the future. The overarching strategy changed from a product sales focus to a service focus.

To achieve this they had to conduct a re-structure, develop new processes, implement new systems and put a large number of employees through a series of workshops to give them the skills needed to reflect the service offering. Crucially they had to change the mindset and behaviour of employees and create a service driven culture. This was no small task and there was a lot of resistance but they were successful in redefining the brand.

When you have decided on the overarching strategy the next step is to identify a series of logical steps that will give you a ‘strategic roadmap’. This is a logical sequence of activities and deliverables over a set period of time – 3-5 years is typical. The detailed plan identifies what you have to deliver in the short term i.e. this year.

Like any good project plan there will be a critical path. There will be redline items that have to be delivered in order for the next stage to take place. They get priority and are often referred to as the ‘Main Effort’ (ME). It is key that everybody knows the overall strategy, the shorter term detailed plan and what the ME is. It helps with teamwork across teams and allows the sharing of resources.

Whilst your organisation’s purpose and vision need to be reviewed from time to time they are generally enduring, what may have to change is your strategy. Organisations need to be agile and able to react to external changes in the situation. Don’t be scared to change course if you need to providing the new course is still taking you towards your vision.

For further information and tips on HOW to create a vision and strategy including tried and tested techniques, tools and case studies please login to our Kintail Community portal at or contact us at