Teams Need Vision Too

Executives spend vital time communicating their vision to the frontline.  Kickoff meetings, employee broadcasts, town halls... all serve well to share important vision, values and goals.

What's often lost in translation is how this plays out at the frontline.  The vision feels bigger than  day-to-day.  So the frontline teams enjoy the message, and then get back to doing the work the same as they did yesterday.

To achieve breakthrough results, teams need vision too.

I see this every day in my own organization.  Everyone gets the same message, some teams head off to make magic.  Other just get by.  The difference comes when teams make the vision their own.  Teams are more energized with a vision they've had a hand in creating.  Tangible vision creates purpose beyond day to goals.  A strong team vision unites and inspires teamwork.

It's easier than you think.

How to Create a Strong Team Vision

1.  Start One on One

Talk to each team member offline about the possibilities for the team at it's very best.

  •  What would they be known for?
  •  What would they accomplish?
  •  How would the team be working together?

Define the future.  Imagine possibilities.

2.  Set the Stage

Schedule time where the team can work uniterrupted.  1/2 day works well.  Bring some easel paper, markers and sticky notes.

3. Begin with the company vision and values.

Ensure everyone understands the bigger context.   The team vision must directly support the overall vision and strategy.

4.  Pick a technique or two and start brainstorming

Questions: Imagine it is 5 years from now.  The team is being recognized for making a game changing contribution.

  • What is the most important work we are doing?
  • What are our customers saying about us?
  • What does it feel like to work on this team?
  • What is senior management saying about us?

Pictures: Ask each team to draw a picture (or articulate a metaphor) of the team at it's very best. Invite everyone to  share their vision with the team.  The common themes provide glimpses to your ideal vision.

5.  Turn the ideas into a bold statement of the desired future

"We will be known for the best customer service in the Nation."

6.  Determine how you measure success

"... as measured by NPS, repeat calls, and customer churn"

7.  Identify specific behaviors

Identify behaviors that are needed from you (the leader), and each member of the team to make the vision a reality.   Write them down.  Create a matrix of what each key role must be doing to accomplish the vision

8. Stakeholder 

Share your vision and key behaviors with your boss and other key players.  Refine as needed to ensure your breakthrough vision is aligned with evolving strategy.

9.  Get to work

Link everything you do and say back to the vision. Recognize early success.  Be impatient (See Impatience as a Leadership Virtue) Support your stragglers.   Teach your team to share their good work (See Powerful Presentations:  Teaching Your Team to Talk Strategy.)

Call For Submissions

This month, the Let's Grow Leaders Frontline Festival will focus on Values and Vision.   Contact me through my blog Let's Grow Leaders to learn more on how to submit your post.

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