So, what happens if you work in an organization that doesn’t effectively communicate the vision from the top of the organization? What power do you have? Is there anything that you can do if you’re not the CEO or on the executive team?

Yes.


I read a blog post at LeadershipFreak.com by Dan Rockwell entitled “Full Steam Ahead!” It was an overview of the book by the same name by authors Ken Blanchard and Jesse Lynn Stoner. The post itself was very interesting and thought provoking about organizational vision and how we can create inspiring visions for our own sub-sets even if the top brass isn’t setting and communicating an organization-wide vision.

Then as I read through the comments, I came across one where someone offered a real-life example of how it can be done. I was truly inspired and wanted to share the exchange (see that one of the authors chimed in here, as well).

Gary Bamberger Says:
When I worked for a large organization, there was no over-riding vision. I created a vision for my department and included values in order to provide guidance for my team on “how” our work would get done. To reinforce this vision, I would point to it often whenever the opportunity presented itself. In 1-on-1 conversations with people on my team, I would show how their goals tied back to the vision for the department. It worked out really well and unified the efforts of our department.

Wendy Keneipp Says:
Gary – I love the way you took control over what you could control within your own area! I think too often it’s easy to just say, “We don’t have “it”, therefore, I’m powerless.” That is an excellent example of leadership – I’m sure your team really appreciated what you did for the group.
• Jesse Stoner Says:
I agree with Wendy. Thanks for showing how it is possible to create a vision within ones own sphere of influence. You highlighted two keys to success: to live it and keep communicating around it. I hope your comment inspires others.

People leave bosses, not companies. For years, Gallup has been talking about this idea – studies, papers, books have all been written on the topic. And this anecdote by Gary is a fantastic real-life example of how you can keep a team together, and you can be a great boss despite what’s happening in the rest of the company.

Is this ideal? No, of course, you’d like to see the whole company thriving together, but you can make a significant impact in the lives of a few people by teaching them great leadership, and you can learn a lot about being that effective leader by actively practicing it with your team.

And maybe your actions will get noticed, and you’ll get the opportunity to help shape the vision of the company when the management team comes around to seeing the importance of communicating the vision…as set by your example.

Photo by Joan Campderrós-i-Canas.