|Image: MS Office Imagebank|
In a word... absolutely.
In preparing for the next post in the series 10 Crucial Survival Skills for the 21st Century CIO, I was researching for the post on the competency of conceptualization - the art of seeing the things that could be, even if they don't exist yet. (I'm not talking about clairvoyance, I'm talking about a creative, innovative, networked mind at work)
This is not that post, but an 'pre'-dendum to that post.
Your vision statement describes in a few words (remember the elevator ride?), what you want your team to achieve through the effective delivery of technology. It's the short scenario of what it will look like when everything is working.
Vision statements are often confused with mission statements - which are meant to describe "Why you exist as a department". I'm of the school of thought that our mission statement should be really, really short, so that everyone on my team understands it.
Ours is: "We leverage technology to help people be successful in what they do by removing barriers or finding better more effective ways to accomplish more or do things they didn't realize they could do".
Everyone gets it. Technology is our tool to achieve our mission.
By the way... this "mission statement" isn't written down anywhere, but threaded through most of my conversations with the team.
But mission statements only take care of the operational side of your world.
If you want to see the IT department truly become a strategic partner in the organization, you need to create a vision statement of how technology will help your organization thrive.
"We want to be the best at using computers in education" is a vision, but not one that people will rally behind.
"We want to be market leaders in innovation". So... how will you know when you've arrived?
Your vision statement should align with your organization's key mission.
In my case, we are all about creating an "exceptional learning experience". So technology at Appleby College is not about putting computers in the hands of the students, but about enriching and extending the learning experience. This influences many of our decisions around IT policies, products and services.
So... if you haven't created your vision statement yet, give it a shot. (There is a good reference for creating your vision statement here.) Have you already created one? Share it in the comments section.
Here is the Vision statement we have at Appleby:
At Appleby College…
Technology in school is more than accessing the Internet…
It is being literate in the language of the world, and skilled in leveraging tools and resources at hand to achieve academic and career goals in a globally competitive marketplace.
The computer is a tool that extends the student’s opportunities and capabilities to learn, to communicate,
to research, and to connect…
…all important competencies for the 21st century.
Once you've created your statement, don't just frame it and put it on the wall. As you start achieving your vision, you'll want to adjust your vision statement to include even bigger more audacious goals.