A Compelling Vision
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.