The Importance of Vision to Operational High Performance

In State of Readiness, Joseph Paris, Jr. makes an important distinction:

Operations refers to processes, whereas operational refers to deals with systems — even entire enterprises. Accordingly, there must be a difference between excellence in operations, or process excellence, and operational excellence. Simply put, excellence in operations is efficiency, doing things right, but operational excellence is effectiveness, doing the right things.”

This is probably what Peter Drucker had in mind in an article for HBR (1963) when he observed, There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.”

I agree with Paris that there are main requirements for the success of any program whose ultimate objective is to achieve organizational high-performance, and this is certainly true when it comes to the development ad deployment of such a program.

For example, vision:

“A vision is not close but rather something that exists beyond the horizon. It might not be well defined. Usually, the more bold and transformational the vision is, the less detail there will be.

“You have to be able to paint a picture of this vision that is simple, elegant, and attractive. And the vision has to have a promise of being a much better place that what exists to overcome the complacency and fear of those who you need to have onboard and follow. As such, a vision should never be about getting away from where you are, but about getting to where you want to be – for your company, for your team, and for yourself.”

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State of Readiness: Operational Excellence as a Precursor to Becoming a High Performance Organization was published by Greenleaf Book Group Press (May 2017).

Joseph F. Paris Jr. is a thought leader on the subject of operational excellence, a prolific writer, and a sought-after speaker around the world. Although he is an expert in the more granular facets of the discipline, he places a special emphasis on the keystone for success: the engagement of people.

To learn more about him and his work, please click here.

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