A Tool for Framing and Executing Vision

Leaders carry the double burden of providing clear vision for the organization or ministry and then ensuring the plans to accomplish that vision are executed. Leadership is daunting because leaders must simultaneously cast a compelling vision for the future and enable execution today. These two frameworks placed alongside one another have helped me and teams I lead think about both framing vision and executing vision.

What I appreciate about these frameworks

The Vision Frame: The Vision Frame helps leaders think in a disciplined way about vision as a short-term horizon for the organizations or ministries they steward. It also reminds leaders that the vision should be deeply aligned to the mission, values, and strategy. Because leaders can feel pressure to “bring a fresh vision,” sometimes leaders unwisely bring a vision that falls outside the mission and strategy. I also love that the tool emphasizes vision is about now and that vision does not become a long-term statement that a leader is married to forever.

The Four Disciplines of Execution: The Four Disciplines of Execution framework provides a repeatable process for accomplishing visionary goals. I appreciate the focus on having only 1-2 goals at a time and the emphasis on lead measures—which is really the sweet spot of execution. As an example, if losing weight is the goal, then caloric intake and exercise are the lead measures. You focus on the lead measures once the goal has been set.

How these frameworks have helped me

The reason I like putting these frameworks side by side is that by doing so we are reminded that vision at some point must be executed. Many people have been credited with the quote, “Vision without execution is hallucination,” because it reminds us of wasted meetings that never amounted to any action. Jim Collins wrote, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” By connecting execution to vision, we are uniting the great people on our teams to the important and visionary goals that will serve people well.

How to use them together

When you bring a visionary goal to your team, it is wise to show how the goal is framed by who you are—by your mission, values, and strategy. What we do should always flow from who we are, so we can authentically say, “Here is where we are going because of our identity.” Once you have set a short-term vision for your team, you then move into executing that vision. The vision becomes your wildly important goal, you set lead measures as a team, and you agree to how frequently you will look at a dashboard together for accountability.

Attached is a PDF of the framework I have used and will use with my team.