Developing a team vision is your first step in inspiring your people to want to be at, and give of their best. Your Vision declares "what we are here to do". In fact, in terms of engaging your people, it is the first element in the 4Bs of high-performance: Believing. It also informs the other three Bs (Belonging, Behaving, Bottom-Line).
When you get the 'what' right, you'll find the inspiration and the desire for the 'hows'.
Hugely successful organization's such as Apple, Zappos, Netflix, Virgin, Southwest Airlines, and Google all have compelling visions. Their visions galvanize the entire organization and compel people to take inspired action, so they deliver their vision.
Keep this in mind when developing a team vision statement:
The purpose of your vision statement is to stretch boundaries and comfort zones.
To enable people within the organization to have a sense of what could be.
Back in the 1980's Microsoft's vision of "A computer in every home running Microsoft software" may have seemed absurd to most people. In fact, it was likely there were people within Microsoft trying to water this vision down. Yet, this rallying cry drove Microsoft's success.
Your vision statement drives behaviors, creativity, commitment, engagement, and determination.
If your vision statement opens people's eyes to what is possible and inspires them to work toward achieving it, then it has served its purpose well.
You, the leader, must constantly, and energetically remind and rally people to the vision.
Too frequently, I see wonderful vision statements, that leaders have spent numerous hours crafting ... sit on sideboards fading away into insignificance.
High-performance leaders are masters at using their vision statement, each and every day, to inspire their people to move toward what the organization has said is their ultimate goal.
If you aren't using your vision statement frequently in your interactions with others, you are missing a golden opportunity to engage your people.
The Elements Of A Good Vision Statement
Keep this list handy as you are developing your team vision statement. Check that each element gets a tick:
The Steps in Developing A Team Vision Statement:
- 1Make it big enough that there will always be passion and energy as you grow toward it
- 2Word it, so it serves as an energy source and rallying point for the organization
- 3Imagine it is 10 years out, and Forbes Magazine is interviewing you. What have you achieved? What difference have you made? What are you proud of?
- 4Write it in the present tense
- 5Make it emotive - you want to stir passion
- 6Summarize the Vision Statement into a powerful phrase, that people can easily grasp: for example, NASA's "Put a man on the moon by the end of the decade" was the central focus for thousands of people, who worked in that organization, and each one of them knew that no matter what role they fulfilled they were part of the team putting a man on the moon.
When you are developing a team vision statement, you are always dealing with the future. You are describing the destination towards which you are aiming.
You are not setting out how you are going to arrive - that comes later as you develop your Mission Statement.
Examples of Vision Statements:
We are on the face of the earth to make great products, and that’s not changing. We don't settle for anything less than excellence
Create a place for people to find happiness and knowledge
To connect people to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel
(old) Produce a car that everyone can afford
Help a girl reach her highest potential
Cirque du Soleil
Invoke the Imagination; Provoke the Senses; Evoke the Emotions
The online service leader
Your vision statement is never static. It's dynamic and designed to set free an organization's energy.
The most powerful vision statements, generally involve and energize people throughout the organization. It gives them a cause to rally behind, feel engaged by, and see that what they are doing is worthy.
For example, you could create a vision statement that says:
Frozen Food that tastes as good as Mom's
Short and sharp. It's a good vision statement. To get people to rally behind it they need to understand why this is important. So while you may have that short eight-word sentence as your rallying call - sitting behind it will be an extended description which will include an intent statement like:
"Achieving this vision means that we provide wholesome, nutritious food to families, and children in particular. It means that we will be able to enhance the health of our customers and thus raise the quality of life of our community."
Communicating The Vision - The Leaders Role
It is the role of the leader to be the direction setter and spokesperson for the Vision Statement and breathe life into the Vision. Let's take a look at a story that illustrates this principle:
There were three people laying bricks
The first is asked, "What are you doing?" ... "Laying these darn bricks"
The second is asked, "What are you doing?" ... "Feeding my family"
The third is asked, "What are you doing?" ... "I'm part of the team building a cathedral so that people can come and worship to their God and feel at peace after a long week of work"
The third bricklayer is energized by a vision that transforms, the actual task work being done, into an achievement that is far greater than he alone could attain.
How to Bring a Vision to Life
The vision is more than just words on paper. Never simply draft the vision statement and post it in books, wall hangings or on coffee mugs ... that won't create the culture or the passion that you want.
You must use your vision and mission statements as you make decisions each day.
For example, decisions on who you are going to recruit into your team. If they don't Believe (one of the 4 Bs of High-Performance), in the vision of the organization, you'll have to work that much harder to keep them engaged.
Decisions on how you allocate resources and time. You and your people must continuously ask, "Will this move us toward or away from our vision."
Nurturing the culture of the business and providing direction is THE most important role of the leader. Communicating the vision is something that the leader must live and breath.
Use metaphors, stories, and examples to continually connect people to the bigger vision of why they are doing what they are doing.
Curious to discover more about the 4Bs of High-Performance and how to bring the vision to life, so it engages people? In the training Managing The People Side of Change In The Workplace, I describe in detail how to weave stories with your people, so that they are inspired to move toward the vision.
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