How companies have used the Shared Vision Process: Examples of client results

A leading global specialty-chemicals company

This Shared Vision Process for a leading global specialty-chemicals company included top-level team-building, plus assistance in linking the vision with a new strategy and in building organizational commitment to the company's new direction.

The problem

A mid-sized US specialty-chemicals company faced a difficult strategic challenge. The firm had been a successful innovator and competitor for several decades, but now it faced surging competition in Japan and in other parts of of its global market-place. At the same time, the President recognized that the necessarily strategic alignment did not exist between the US Executive Group, the firm's family owners, and its regional offices around the world. He also recognized that the organization's culture was not adequately supporting the business or its people.

The project

Through Executive Coaching, Executive Team-Building, and a Shared Vision Process:

The company's leaders came together and created a clear and compelling shared mission, long-range objectives, and an updated set of operating values. We assisted the corporation's global leaders around the world in linking the new vision with a forward-looking, world-wide strategy that capitalized on the firm's core competencies. We also worked on a substantial culture-change effort that included continued work on alignment between the firm's founders and its Executive Group, helping the top executives learn how to put their newly articulated values into practice in their own meetings and leadership activities, and coaching in how to communicate the new vision and strategy to the rest of the organization in a manner that build common understanding and commitment.

The results

The project resulted in tremendous improvement in strategic alignment, strategic decision-making and organizational problem-solving; clearer top-level roles; increased trust; and better communication within and across organizational levels.

A recently-merged Swedish chemicals corporation

This Shared Vision Process following the merger of two major Swedish chemicals companies included work with top-level leaders, consulting support for communicating and implementing the new vision, and a series of three-to-five-day workshops for in-tact teams.

The problem

When two major Swedish chemical companies merged, its top executives initially believed that the two corporate cultures would come together as a bi-product of merged organizational structures. However, two years later, people still felt they were essentially two different companies, and the business as a whole was clearly suffering as a result.

The project

A New Context consultant, teamed with one of our affiliate consultants in London, worked with the company's international leadership team to create a truly shared vision, which clarified the company's highest-priority objectives and a common set of “operating values” for the corporate culture. We then provided consulting support for communicating and implementing this vision throughout the entire company. In addition, we co-designed and delivered a series of three-to-five-day workshops for intact teams at all organizational levels with hundreds of employees participating.

The results

The development and implementation of a shared corporate vision resulted in the harmonious merger of divisions and the elimination of duplicate functions and processes. It also healed a deep “wound” incurred when two very different companies merged without attending to cultural issues. Because of this work, those working in the various divisions now feel that “we are finally going forward as one company” with a strong leader at the helm. The bottom line: a more cooperative workplace, increased cross-functional collaboration, more innovative products, increased customer satisfaction, and higher profits.

An Expanding Executive Search Firm

This Shared Vision Process for an executive search firm generated common commitment to a new business mission. It also provided the means for communicating the company's new direction to its investors, customers, and employees -- and for putting the new mission immediately into action.

The opportunity

A small, successful executive search firm had an opportunity to broaden its mission and evolve into a regional, “full services” human resource consulting firm. However, the company's owner and CEO recognized that, for this transition to be successful, the firm's partners would need to participate in a well-designed, facilitated process for clarifying the key elements of the firm's new mission. The CEO also saw the opportunity to involve in this process a man he was trying to hire as the new company President.

The project

The firm used the Shared Vision Process to develop a new mission to which all the key players could be strongly committed. After several meetings with the CEO and the firm's partners, a New Context consultant designed and facilitated an off-site meeting where, in one first day, the participants:

Discussed in-depth the thinking behind the proposed new direction, including their individual career goals.

Identified the range of markets they would target, the most important needs and trends in these markets, the major
types of products and services they would offer, and the core competencies that would distinguish their firm in the

Used this information to draft a clear, inspiring mission statement for the company.

On the second day, the consultant facilitated a meeting in which participants forged agreement on the key elements of a business plan that would put the new mission into action over the coming year.

The results

The Shared Vision Process resulted in a common commitment to a new mission and challenge for the organization that was rooted in the personal and professional objectives of the firm's key players. The owner/CEO also developed a new appreciation for the value of looking at his business from the customer's point of view.

Together, the mission and business plan provided the means for communicating the company's new direction to its investors, customers, and employees -- and for putting the new mission immediately into action. The event also catalyzed the prospective President's decision to join the company. A seasoned management consultant himself, he said this was the most skillfully facilitated mission-development process he'd ever seen.

A Start-up Software Firm

This Shared Vision Process started with the founder of a software development firm. It was critical to the effort to recruit thirty staff members and to the maintenance of constructive communications with the representatives of the firm's venture partner.

The Opportunity

The founder had to align recruits to his company and his venture capital backers to his vision, and he had to do it quickly. Not doing so would mean low productivity, stifling conflict and numbing bureaucracy. Rapid success required a quick transmission of the founder's vision .

The Project

Through a series of strategic conversations and workshops, a New Context consultant helped the founder, an MIT-educated entrepreneur, establish a strong community that emphasized creativity, team spirit and openness among the firm's highly talented and youthful personnel. Using a range of methods, he helped the staff articulate their vision for the company and develop systems and procedures that turned those visions into reality.

In particular, his work involved the design of a new-hire socialization program that introduced a number of “Generation X-ers” to the mission and values of the company, its strategy and financial condition, its policies and procedures, and it's unique “way of doing things.” He also recommended and shepherded the development of an innovative newsletter that reinforced the company's culture of learning.

The Results

New Context's
work contributed to a very high energy, high commitment, high productivity work culture. The socialization program helped weld a cohesive team. The newsletter--and other communications initiatives--supported an open and honest climate. The leadership coaching extended the influence of the founder.