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How to create vision through the 5V Model.


Intent creates the future. It is the nothing that turns into something. It is where everything begins.

In my post on "The difference between vision and mission" I explain what a vision statement is. Vision creates intent whilst mission defines purpose. Vision is the desired state of Org. Strategic objectives create our plan to reach that state. In fact, the entire project construct of Org aims to execute its vision. Unlike a mission, a vision is something that we want to "kill". Its relevance is a constant reminder that we need more strategy. It tells us that we are not where we want to be and drives us towards a reality that we have created through thought. A vision statement is thus the key driver to strategic success.

The difference between vision and mission – an orgtology perspective

In leadership and strategy development, mission and vision are both first and foremost. But what is their difference? Which one is first and how does one conclude them? The difference between vision and mission is a confused and misunderstood concept. In many cases they say the same thing, but with a different word order. Even in fortune 500 compan...

I often hear the argument that vision is where we want to go, and mission is how we will get there. That is how most people explain their difference. Although this statement holds a lot of truth, it is not an entire truth. My counter question is always; "Then what are strategic objectives?" The terms vision and mission are confusing since there are so many ways to grasp them. That is why I encourage my clients to rather work with intent and purpose. In so, it would make more sense to say: "Purpose is what I am, and intent is what I want to make of that". It will then make less sense to say; "Intent is where I want to go, and purpose is how I will get there". The relationship between intent and purpose must be meaningful and not shallow. One is not subordinate to the other. Effective strategy depends on a good understanding of this. The aim of strategy is to expand the relevance of purpose and to execute intent. Strategy is thus how we get there.

Most of what happens in Org is because of purpose. Yet, one should not underestimate the power of intent. The vision of Disney – "Happiest place in the world" has driven the company to become a powerful entity. It has created immense relevance for their aim to offer family entertainment. Vision is not everything, but it is that which separates humans from most animals. Therefore, it is something incredibly powerful.

A problem that I have always had with vision statements, is that they are mostly beyond reach. With this I mean that they are mostly too vague to drive a meaningful strategy. E.g., the South African Police has the vision of a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa. With about 50 murders per day, they are still light years away from that. In this case it would make sense to bring their intent closer to reality. One must do this without losing sight of the ultimate desire. To solve this problem, I created the 5V-Model. Through 5V, we create five vision statements. The first one is an "utopia" vision. The second is aimed at a long term e.g., 15-years from now and the third for a medium term, e.g. 10-years from now. The fourth vision becomes a state that defines the end of our strategic period. This is a short-term vision. The fifth vision is a statement of what we want to achieve within the next 12-months. In this way we can create a ladder of strategic intent. Moreover, the 5V also becomes a measure of strategic success. I have created many models and tools in strategy development over the years, of which the 5V is one of the oldest. I use it in all my strategy development projects with amazing success. It works.

The best way to create the five visions, is from the top down. In other words, it is best to work from an ultimate and non-quantifiable dream to more realistic goals. Not the other way around. If you begin at a realistic place, you might want to keep it that way. The whole point of a dream is to not be real. Below is a brief description of each 5V statement.

V1 - Ultimate Vision...

V2 – 15 Years from now...

V3 – 10 Years from now…

Here we ask the question; "Where should we be 10 years from now, if we want to achieve V2?" The aim of V3 is to create a quantifiable super goal that will ensure that we get to V2. It is a medium-term vision. As with V2, the time-span is long, so the dream can still be big. V3 sets the table for V4.

V4 – The end of our strategic period...

 V4 is the most important of the 5V statements, because it typifies the end of our strategic period. It is a short-term vision. Our strategic projects were successful if we achieve V4. When a board of directors approve a strategy, V4 must be closely scrutinised. It aims to achieve quick results. We will mostly measure our strategic completion against the achievement of V4. Where we are not getting any closer, we must change our strategic activity. In that, V4 is our strategic goal, and achieving it will show our strategic success. One should not design a V4 statement without first doing an EOP analysis. The EOP will show what to strategically focus on. In so, it will also show what we must define V4 as. It is important to note that V4 does not depend on V3. It often happens that we must revisit the V2 and V3 statements after we have moulded a V4. An EOP should give a very realistic status quo of what we can and cannot do. Therefore, V4 is an extremely specific and realistic intent. Our aim must be to precisely execute V4 within our given strategic period. Mostly this is about three years.

V5 – By the end of this year...

V5 is simply our annual super goal. It turns V4 into a chewable chunk. We must achieve and revise it on an annual basis. The easiest way to do this is to use the strategic targets of a strategic year as the V5 statement of achievement. E.g., "Achieve all the strategic targets for 2019 at 100%." In this way we will direct all our energy towards our 5V.

Often vision statements create vague intent. Examples are: "innovative bank", "agile products", "robust operations", etc. To make these desires specific, we create strategic targets. These are quantifiable indicators for every year in the strategic period. Their aim is to assess strategic success. I explain strategic targets in my article on "How to create targets for a project construct".

Statement: Time Span: Duration:
V1 Infinite Infinite
V2Long-term+- 15 Years
V3Medium-term+- 10 Years
V4Short-term3 to 5 Years

Below is a sample of how we have used the 5V Model for the International Orgtology Institute:

V1 - Ultimate Vision

Orgtology drives all organisations.

V2 - 2033 Vision

Orgtology drives 10% of all medium and large organisations globally.

V3 - 2028 Vision

Orgtology is one of the most popular fields of research in organisational science.

V4 - 2021 Vision

The IOI has accredited practitioners and endorsed providers on all habitable continents.

V5 - 2019 Vision

Achieve all the strategic targets for 2018-19.

The 5V Model gives a clear strategic direction, from 12-months to beyond 15-years. When defining 5V, we should take note of the following:

  • It is not necessary that the gap between V1 and V2 is a realistic one. V1 is an ultimate desire. It could be 10-years away from V2, or the gap could be 100-yrears.
  • V3 does not automatically become V4, etc. Therefore, there is no automated cascading from one statement to another. We will revise the whole 5V during each strategic period. It is likely that V2, V3, and V4 will change during every strategic period.
  • It is best practice to carry V1 forward from one strategic period to another. We should design V1 in such a way that it has perennial relevance. In this way we give stakeholders a dream that will last forever. We will work towards this dream through V2, V3, V4, and V5.

I have created the 5V Model in 2006 and have used it in all my strategic projects since. The method is tried and tested, and it will be difficult for me or my clients to create strategy without it. 


Join the Orgtologist Certification Program (OCP) and become a Certified Orgtologist with the International Orgtology Institute

The program is highly suitable for senior managers, directors, executives, and those who aim for senior positions within an organisation. The OCP has four parts. They are: orgtology theory, organisational design, strategy, management and leadership. This is an advanced program. To enroll, you must hold a bachelor's degree with three years of work experience. On completion, you can enroll as an Orgtologist with the International Orgtology Institute (IOI).

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