When using the term vision for managing an organization, to vision is to look into the future and imagine how much better it can be. After all, is that not what continuous improvement and preventive action really is?

Managers who practice visioning will be the company leaders of the future. Furthermore, a company without visionary leadership will continually struggle to survive. Even ISO 9001:2008 emphasizes the importance of management leadership to meet the customer’s needs and quality objectives.

As I had pointed out in my last post, it is clear in today’s economic challenging times to see those companies who have vision are also those companies not suffering or threatened by bankruptcy.

So how do we as managers vision? We often think that visioning is a character attribute that certain people are born with. Often we believe that very few people have this attribute and therefore leave the visioning to them.

The truth is that we all can vision the future if we set aside the time on a daily basis just for that purpose. Below are some helpful hints and strategies to help us all become visionaries for improvement.

A good start is to review the current processes and challenge them. See yourself as a change agent with a mindset of innovation and a catalyst to move the organization forward. Consider radical departures from the past. Consider doing things that no one has ever done before. Moreover, be prepared to take some risks.

Take the time to imagine the process in the future and free your mind of rigid constraints. Often rigid constraints are economic. However, do not stop because you believe the economics do not work. Imagine for a second if Henry Ford never created the assembly line in 1908 because of economics. More likely than not, the pay back will justify the expense.

As your vision becomes clear to you, you should expand it to others. You must be passionate and articulate the future. See yourself as a person who "focuses the projector", no matter how much input others have in shaping the vision, the visionary must articulate it!

In a management system, we have tools provided for this purpose. One tool is the preventive action process while another is root cause analysis and their recommended solutions.

Therefore, my next post will focus on preventive action and root cause analysis.