As a leader in your organization, I am certain you have a clear picture in your mind of where you are going. Whether you lead at a team, department, or organizational level, it is almost a certainty that you spend a significant amount of time thinking about the team, department, or organization that you must become.
But here’s the question – does the rest of your team, department, or organization know what that looks like? A shared vision is the key to their ability to get you there as quickly and easy as possible. If they don’t know the vision inside and out, then get started communicating that message to them right away.
However, you need to start with where you are today.
Where are you now?
Because of the recession, this is a conversation that many of us have been avoiding. However, the fact that times have been tough makes this conversation all the more necessary. The rest of your team wants to know what’s going on – good, bad, or indifferent. Besides, if you want them to help you get somewhere more attractive, you have to help them clearly see the comparison from where you’re starting.
Where are you going?
What is the vision you have for your future team/department/organization? I don’t mean the vision statement that you frame and hang on the wall. I mean what does it look like? When you close your eyes and look at your future company, what do you see? Describe in detail for the rest of your team what you see. What services will you offer? What skills will the team need? What kind of growth and profitability will it require? Who will you be selling to?
And once you have described what it looks like at some point in the future, take the time to explain WHY it is so important that your Vision becomes your shared reality.
How you will get there?
When you have taken the time to share where you are and where you are going, the steps you lay out to move from the former to the latter will make much more sense. When you ask your people to change a behavior, acquire a new skill, or hit a new performance level, they will be in a much better position to understand why it is so necessary. With that understanding, they are much more likely to make it happen.
Be prepared to deliver these messages over and over again. In fact, once you get to the point that you are absolutely tired of talking about it, they are just getting to the point of understanding it. Stick with it and keep going – you want them to know it as well as you do. When they start repeating it with you or maybe mocking you a bit – you know you’re achieving your goal!
Your team wants to help you be successful. It’s your responsibility to put them in position to do so.
Photo by Jaysin Trevino.