Vision: The Ability to Really See

September 15, 2003 · by William J. Schwarz

Organizational vision is not a statement on a wall; it is the ability to see. The ability to see is determined by one’s ability to map out causality.

All else is just a projection onto a screen of one’s judgments, based on beliefs about past experiences. All perception is misperception. Perception is a way of viewing reality that is based on events, problems and solutions, distortions, biases and prejudices. Most perception is based upon a belief that someone or something is doing something to you. It is human nature to take it personally. This leads to conflict and the belief that one is right and the other is wrong. This results in Reactive Behavior, a state that is worse than complete blindness. It causes one to react to (mis) perceptions, thus creating a vicious circle of quick fixes and more (mis) perceptions.

The energy of an organization becomes consumed by an illusionary world of problems, quick fixes and the belief in long-term solutions or restructuring. In this state, people protect and defend their perceptions as though they are the truth, when by definition, they do not even exist.

Of course something has happened, but if it is at the level of perception and experienced at the level of events, it leads to a further-ingrained reactive state.

When seeing these events, know they are only symptomatic and are there to encourage you to discover and see cause.

To restore your Vision, chart behavior over time. Look for patterns of behavior that are increasing and decreasing across the plane of time. Then discover the underlying structure that causes this behavior.

—Structure determines behavior.
—The restoration of Vision is at the core of all leadership. What do you see?

—William J. Schwarz
From the forthcoming book, Mastering the Senior Forces of Change

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