Systems, not vision, determine the sustainability of your dream. This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn, but over the years, I have met many a visionary leader whose dreams grew to a fraction of their potential because of the lack of an environment where the vision could thrive.
Vision must come first in any organization, otherwise systems tend to get a life of their own and become what we hate the most about government: bureaucracy, a means into itself, a self-preserving, self-entitled nothingness.
However, vision without systems is like a train without tracks. In a growing organization, sustainability means understanding strengths, threats, opportunities, trends and how to design organizational culture and procedures to address them. I’ve heard someone put it this way: what determines your product is what happens down the hall and not what’s hanging on the wall.
I’m saddened every time I run into a business, not for profit or church that got the vision part down, but can’t get its systems in place. Unwittingly, they sabotage growth at every turn.
Take a look at your organization. Do you have systems in place that allow for growth or are they keeping it from moving forward?