Monday, January 26, 2009

Creating a Vision for your student organization

Have you ever done a lot of planning in your organization but end up failing to implement it? Or maybe, you planned some activity but the outcome was not well received or did not make the impact you desired? There could be million reasons for why that would happen and one of them might be because you as the leader do not have a clear direction of what the organisation is trying to do or which direction you want to bring the organisation to.

You see, I know this MTM where the students are facing a few problems, one of them includes the loss of their belongings, there were a few cases of stolen motorbikes. Some suggestions were given, some are good some are bad, but at the end of the day, all of them was not entertained. Instead, the issue turned into a compulsory new rule that makes us put our shoes and slipper inside our room so that the place looks tidy. Just for your information we as the students (meaning students who are not appointed and have representative power) are able to get some shoe racks. Anyway, the point is, should'nt the safety of student property should be a priority, after all, if you can get shoe racks for everybody, why can't this problem be dealt with first? Whatever the reason, I think this problem would not be faced if the people who are responsible have a clear understanding of their role and also their mission and vision.

So, today I want to share how t0 create a proper vision and mission statement. Before we go on i need to make sure you understand why do we need to have a vision and mission statement. Im sure you have seen your college has a vision and mission statement. In fact all profesional organisation has them but in your college it is only there for decorational purposes, why? because Malaysian people do it just for the sake of doing it, like ISO, what's the point of doing ISO audit if students expectations are still not met. Anyway, a vision and mission statement is useful for you to do your planning later, and also it helps to remind you what you need to focus on. Like the MTM I mentioned earlier they should focus on our issues not their pursuit of tidyness of college hallways (compared to missing motorbikes, i think hallway tidyness is a small issue)

So how do you do it? Well, first you need to get your team. A vision and mission statement is for the whole organisation so your team must be in it too. Once, your team is ready, make sure the atmosphere is good for sharing because you and your team need to be open, honest and sincere in the discussion. This is not some crappy game you play in some kononnya leadership camp.

Now, ask yourself and your team what do you think your organisation should do? What is your organisations reason for existence? What is it's objectives? Ask big general questions and get your team to start discussing, don't let anyone dominate. I know students are either too shy or too much of a showoff but work on it. It will also help if you ask you're team to draw or make their own story of what your oragnisation is and what it should be doing. The key here is to talk, discuss and interact owth your whole team. Your objective it to get to see some recuuring terms, ideas, concepts that all your team members have something in common.

Once, you have achieved this, you can start to build your vission statement. You can do your own research but basically a vision statement is what your organisation wants to become. This is UPM's vision statement: "To become a university of international repute"and my blog's vision is "To be the number one source to find student-issue related articles" It might still be quite general but it is enough for you start doing your mission statement followed by your goals. Start doing your vision and get a consensus of the vision. Your vision must be specific enough to tell what field or interest your club is pursuing. And also, the vision must be able to tell what your organisation is pursuing, "to be no. one", "to become..." and etc. Do all this on a mahjong paper, and write it really big, so your team would see it as their accomplishment. A vision or mission statement are just word (like in the college offices) if the team do not appreciate or understand it's values, than it is no use doing it.

At this stage, you are still only at the beginning, the vision alone cannot help you much in planning, later I will share how to create a mission statement. But at least this vision you have made now is able to shed some light on the direction your club wants to takes, and would be able to motivate your team. Stay tuned for more...

This is the first article of my Student Organizational Excellence Series. So don't forget to come back...

The next article is here.

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