FREE copy of the Uptime Elements Implementation Guide once you subscribe to Reliability Weekly

Many organizations have created a vision for themselves. If you have one then you are on the right track. If you do not have one, how can you ask your organization to change when you can not describe to them what their future will look like if they do.

It is the vision, that when clearly understood creates alignment and group focus. What, then, is a vision? You can define it as follows:

Vision is an idealized picture of a future state, one that is integrated into the organization's culture. It provides a stretch, yet it is achievable over an extended time period with a great deal of work and collective focus by the entire organization. Because it continually evolves, it is never fully achieved.

Let's look more closely at this definition by examining each of the parts.

An Idealized Picture of a Future State
Vision should be something that people can see. When pieces of it are completed, people in the company can say "what we set out to create for ourselves is what we have achieved." A picture is something that people can hold up and use to measure their progress.

Integrated into the Organization's Culture
The vision must be difficult, if not impossible, to alter so that personnel changes can not easily destroy what the collective members have created. Too often the vision is not sufficiently integrated into the company culture. In these cases, change in management can easily alter or destroy what everyone has worked to achieve.

A Stretch, Yet Achievable
The vision needs to be something that the firm can achieve, but not easily. If it is too difficult people will become frustrated and give up. If it is not a stretch, then it will be easily accomplished and will not have significant value for the group.

Extended Time and a Great Deal of Work
A vision is not something that can be accomplished in a short period of time. It represents a major shift in how a firm does business. If a vision can be achieved overnight, then it is not sufficiently a stretch for the firm. However, a worthwhile vision that takes a lot of time and requires a major shift in the culture will take a great deal of work.

Collective Focus by the Entire Organization
It is not enough if just one person, or even a few people, understand and are working to achieve the vision. Instead, the vision must be a collective effort for the entire organization. Only then can it not only succeed, but also be long lasting and beneficial.

Continually Evolving, Never Accomplished
The process is continually evolving, not according to a set plan, but instead through a learning process. Although the vision is set at the beginning, the organization continually evolves and the end-state is never accomplished. In fact, by the time that the initially described end state is reached, a new and evolved end state will have replaced the original.

Even in the best of circumstances, achieving a vision is not a simple task. It is vulnerable to many pitfalls. Any strategy used to create the vision must translate into a strategy used to implement it. Thus the following aspects need to be considered at both stages for a chance at success:

• A strategy must be in place to take the vision from a picture of a desired future state to something that is real. This is what I was describing in Part 1 when I discussed next steps. It will be addressed further in Part 3.

• The organization must be ready to change by agreeing that they collectively have a high degree of dissatisfaction with their current situation.

• The organization must be aligned for change. This is very important. Alignment means that all those in the organization see the same picture of their future and work together to achieve it.

• The vision must be extremely clear and understood by all. This is extremely important to ultimate success. You should be able to ask anyone in the organization about the vision and have them describe it identically.

• The managers, those who set strategic direction, must "walk the talk". The old adage of "don't do what I do, do what I say" is a ticket to failure.

• All levels of the organization must make an ongoing commitment. The change effort will not succeed if everyone is not committed. Simply being involved is not enough. It is like a breakfast of ham and eggs. The chicken is involved, the pig was committed.

• Sufficient and realistic time must be allowed for the effort to be a success.

This concludes part 2 of 5 of "Changing Your Organization for the Better". Part 3 will address concept of the Goal Achievement Model -a process to turn the mission into reality.

Portions of this article were extracted from "Successfully Managing Change in Organizations: A Users Guide" by Stephen J. Thomas with permission from the publisher, Industrial Press, Inc.

For more information about the book use the hyperlink provided to go to the Industrial Press web site - or visit the author's web site -

Steve Thomas

Upcoming Events

August 8 - August 10, 2023

Maximo World 2023

View all Events
80% of newsletter subscribers report finding something used to improve their jobs on a regular basis.
Subscribers get exclusive content. Just released...MRO Best Practices Special Report - a $399 value!
Defect Elimination in the context of Uptime Elements

Defect Elimination means a lot of things to a lot of people. Uptime Elements offers a specific context for defect elimination [DE] as a success factor on the reliability journey [RJ].

Internet of Things Vendors Disrupting the Asset Condition Management Domain at IMC-2022

Internet of Things Vendors Disrupting the Asset Condition Management Domain at IMC-2022 The 36th International Maintenance Conference collocated with the RELIABILITY 4.0 Digital Transformation Conference [East]

Asset Management Technology

The aim of the Asset Management technology domain is to assure that IT/OT systems are focused on creating the value from the assets and that the business can deliver to achieve organizational objectives as informed by risk.


TRIRIGAWORLD AWARDS honors excellence in space optimization and facility management, A event to further advance asset management

IMC-2022 Who's Who: The World's Best Run Companies

The International Maintenance Conference (IMC) provides a fresh, positive community-based curated experience to gain knowledge and a positive perspective for advancing reliability and asset management through people, their managers, the strategy, the processes, the data and the technology. The world’s best-run companies are connecting the workforce, management, assets and data to automate asset knowledge that can be leveraged for huge beneficial decisions.

Uptime Elements Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis is a problem solving method. Professionals who are competent in Root Cause Analysis for problem solving are in high demand.

Reliability Risk Meter

The asset is not concerned with the management decision. The asset responds to physics

Why Reliability Leadership?

If you do not manage reliability culture, it manages you, and you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening!

Asset Condition Management versus Asset Health Index

Confusion abounds in language. Have you thought through the constraints of using the language of Asset Health?

Seven Chakras of Asset Management by Terrence O'Hanlon

The seven major asset management chakras run cross-functionally from the specification and design of assets through the asset lifecycle to the decommissioning and disposal of the asset connected through technology