Do you sometimes struggle to convert great sounding advice into practical delivery? That was one of the things I observed both from my own experience leading and also working with my clients. Often the training course or advice sounds fantastic but when we try to implement it, we start to flounder, and revert to our previous way of working.
To address this I created this mini-course, it expands upon the tips for creating a vision and introduces team development workshop activity that will help you to develop your team.
Real life examples and practical examples
The course includes real-life examples, client stories and practical exercises. The objective of the course to help the team get behind the creation of the vision and then the execution whilst developing them into a high performing team.
If you are a leader or a member of a team that could do with a helping hand to start to develop your common purpose and way of working, this course will guide you through the process.
By providing practical examples and experiences, I can support you to transform good intentions into action!
Whether you are the CEO of your business or a leader of a team within your organisation, being able to articulate what you do and engage the team around your vision is essential to delivering your business success.
Unlocking your potential
As a leadership coach, I have worked with many leaders. I have seen theirs and their team’s potential unlocked by working together to define their vision. It is fascinating to see the change in the team once they have been able to define their joint purpose.
Creating a clear vision will move your forward
Making time to do it can be challenging and often it can get overlooked. Perhaps you work in a large organisation and there is an overarching vision, but that it does not feel close enough to what you do. Whatever your situation, if you or your team are struggling to connect behind a single goal, a clear vision will help you move forward.
In my webinar, I go into more details about the value you can achieve through working with your team to create your vision.
Mindful of your time, it is short, about 10 minutes, and will help you to get more from the Compelling Vision top 10 tips download!
WHY do we need a VISION? Because everyone needs to feel connected to a goal or purpose. The vision provides the overarching reason for why we are doing something. We can sometimes feel like small cogs in a big machine.
During the industrial revolution era each job was broken down into smaller tasks. In effect there was a conveyor belt of tasks which created the end product. No-one had a view of the whole picture. There were foremen and managers to keep us on task and motivated. Now, we are more used to having a say and influence over what we do. And we do not respond well to the carrot and stick approach, rather we want to feel like we are making a difference or having an impact.
Knowing how we are supporting the visions helps us to become self-motivated and responsible for our own activity. It means we can be connected to the vision of our leader. This gives us purpose: “fulfil that vision and be part of the team striving to achieve the goal”.
Are you a leader of a growing business or team and struggling to get your team connected to your vision? Here are some killer questions to help you get there…
Do you have clarity of purpose and a supporting vision? We often struggle to succinctly explain what our vision is, and when we say it out-loud it might not sound quite right. Which in turn prompts another question: is the vision wrong or are we not doing the right things?
So, let’s consider where the vision came from and how recently was it reviewed. The answers to these questions are often that it came from the wider vision, was created some time ago and has never been revisited. I have heard “well, we look at it each year when we review our objectives and it feels OK”. But what we don’t do is: test it or ask our teams how they feel about, read it out aloud to people, notice how it lands, and take feedback. It is important that we challenge ourselves to consider whether it is moving the business along or just describing the status quo.
Co-creation is key
So, your vision is up-to-date and seems to be relevant, however you are still struggling to get people to connect with it. I ask: was this vision co-created? By this I mean, did everyone have an opportunity to feed into the process. I’ve found that those visions created with the team have far more impact. We do our best thinking with others so, it will also be richer. I always recommend working with the team to understand what language is meaningful, ensure that the message is clear and unambiguous and then test it out. Does it resonate, jar or confuse?
Once it has been co-created, I ask: Is everyone in your leadership team aligned to that vision? It is essential that everyone agree and be comfortable with the wording. You want them to be able to communicate it themselves to their teams and beyond. Are the wider team aware of it and would they be able to quote it?
If you are happy that your vision is ticking all the boxes, I challenge you to ask yourself does it reflect what we are doing now? A vision is not something to create and then put on the shelf. It needs to be a living breathing thing that everyone feels connected to. The team members must be able to see how they are going to influence it and how they are making a difference. When the business changes, or the team changes it is a good opportunity to review is it still relevant. Ask yourself is it still aligned to your business priorities? This should be reviewed regularly and tested to ensure that it is still relevant and actively make time to work on, as well as, in the business.
Once you have created an engaging vision that everyone feels connected to, the next thing to do is to make it become a reality. I believe that these 3 stages are critical to making that vision happen:
Strategy creation and action
Connecting the dots
Making it happen
Strategy Creation and Action
Identify the key priorities that will achieve your vision. These could be something that is lacking or fixing something that is not working. For example:
1) A People pillar or a “way of working”. This will create the right environment in which the team can thrive and flourish as individuals and team members. Consider objectives such as: clarity of what they expect from each other, to create a culture that is supportive and collaborative.
2) A Sales pillar that is focussed on creating a new pitch or sales offer.
3) A Procedural pillar to create new processes and routines that will allow the business to transform into the organisation that the vision defines.
I recommend that a leader is assigned to each of these pillars, with a max of five pillars, who will create their own visions for these pillars with their team champions. Create a single combined plan of action, for the pillars, that includes both short and long term activities and identifies the interdependencies between the pillars.
Connecting the Dots
Recruit all of the organisation or department into this programme, aligning everyone to at least one of the pillars. Create a clear language that brings people together, that is clear and unambiguous. Work with them to co-create the activities that will deliver the vision. Create training and coaching programmes that help them attain the required skills. Ensure that everyone is connected to the programme and understands their role and contribution. In time they will become the champions of the activity and help to promote this initiative.
Making it Happen
Create a programme of work with achievable milestones, which are celebrated: create posters, z-cards, mouse mats and other tangible articles that help it to feel real for everyone. Do not create a leviathan of a project that will deliver everything in 12 months time. It is important that the change is felt quickly and the benefits start to be felt across the team. The activity involves “working on the business”, however is should be felt every day whilst “working in the business”. Create small steps that can be achieved each week, roll out and test new approaches and start to transform the organisation from within, in small distinct steps.
As the leader, keep everyone honest, maintain the momentum and keep the energy high… it will be hard work and often people will fall into old habits, gently remind them of their commitment. The journey is as important as the destination for creating a highly successful business which develops and grows together.
As leaders, we are expected, to define the vision for the organisation, team or group. It is true that people find a common purpose as essential to them feeling connected to the organisation. Dr Jacqueline Peters (@DrJacquelineP) states that a “Purpose provides the energy to overcome problems”. In my experience, as both a leader and working with my coaching clients, it can often be challenging to get your team engaged. They need to feel connected to the overall vision. Therefore, creating a vision that gives people purpose is essential.
How do you as the leader achieve this?
I will start with how “not to do it”. I strongly recommend you do not shut yourself away for hours and/or days trying to come up with a clever set of words that communicate some incredibly large aspirational and inspirational statement. There are two reasons for this:
1) We often do our best thinking when we have someone else’s attention. So, working in isolation means we may get stuck on the same words and end up refine something that is not very creative.
2) It is easier to get people engaged in the long run if they are part of the original thinking process.
In my experience, the most effective way of creating a vision, is working together as a team to define what their “Why” is. As Simon Sinek says; we often refer to what we do or how we do something rather than why we do something.
Understanding why we are a team, or even at the individual level why are we there, can help us to truly understand our purpose. That genuinely identifies the uniqueness of the organisation, group or team. In order to get to your purpose I recommend writing up 3 sets of words: Words that do not align with the business, those that do or will and those that are ambiguous and unclear. Then ensure that your vision uses words the are clear and unambiguous, whilst clarifying the ambiguous words, perhaps in a glossary. I also suggest you do not try to do this in one session. It takes time to get to the right vision statement, let it “prove” between sessions and ensure that everyone is contributing and engaged with the process.
Once you have it, use it. And I mean all the time, everyone should be able to quote it and feel proud of it. As the leader, encourage the team to test that everything they are doing supports it….