Build a Better Vision With Purpose and Alignment
You want to move forward and succeed with your goals. Yet it can be tough if you don’t have a solid vision to which you’re aspiring to achieve. Organizations without a clearly defined vision are like ships sailing without a destination. They’re aimless, constantly at risk, and reactive in nature. So it’s essential for organizations and leaders to create a solid, high-level vision that reflects who they are and what they want to be. But that’s not all. As MAP Senior Consultant Cassie Hoag shares with her clients, it’s just as important to build and sustain awareness, understanding and alignment around that vision. When everyone throughout the entire organization clearly knows the vision, then they know their purpose—the “why” behind what they’re working toward. When that’s all clear, goals and strategies may be set, and success becomes far more possible. It’s that simple!
Looking to create or update the vision for your organization or your own leadership development? Here are a few tips from Hoag’s vision-building exercise:
Clarify common confusion. Sometimes when people gather to work on a vision, they’re unsure whether they’re doing it for the entire organization, the employees, a specific division/department, or the leader. If you’re asking people to join in the vision process, clarify for whom and what the vision is intended.
Give the vision a timeframe. It’s not uncommon for a vision to change over the years. Set a timeframe that makes the vision more realistic and doable for yourself and your people. For example, it may be a “90-day vision” or a “2030 vision,” the latter of which would be a vision that reflects a picture or idea by a clearly identified date. Specificity is the key!
Set a “max” to the drafts. At MAP, we suggest putting some limits around how many drafts you create, ideally, no more than three. This will enable you and anyone else on the Vision Draft Team to be productive and avoid the temptation to relentlessly revise in the hopes of perfection. Make your draft “good enough,” using a timer to keep everyone on track and mindful of productivity. This recommendation holds regardless of whether you’re writing it on a white board, flip charts, drawing, in a typed report, etc.
Get feedback from a wider circle. This could be employees, customers, stakeholders, a professional mentor, or your MAP consultant. “Feedback can come from surveys, lunch-and-learns, one-on-one meetings and more,” Hoag says. Share the vision with those who have a direct, vested interest, as well as some trusted, objective confidants who can attest to its strengths, weaknesses, needs, etc. Put a due date on feedback requested so you have it returned in a timely fashion.
Share and sustain the vision. Ideally, a vision should convey passion, be visible and clearly communicated to all who will work toward it. “Keep it alive…bake it into everything!” Hoag says. Think: include it in employee manuals, posted in lunchrooms, as part of your internal newsletter’s recurring tagline, in Vital Factor Team meeting discussions, in print materials and commercials, and on your website, staff t-shirts, company schwag, billboards, etc. If your organization has created a vision, everyone working there should be able to tell you what it is, when asked. And finally, remember that when setting goals and creating strategies, they must all steer toward, support and sustain that vision.
What do you find rewarding about building a vision for yourself as a leader?