6 Steps to Help Create a Clear Vision for Your Organization
A clear organizational vision is one of the greatest predictors of employee engagement. Read these 6 tips to set a clear vision for your company.
“Leadership requires two things:
a vision of the world that does not yet exist
and the ability to communicate it.”
– Simon Sinek
The main skill that differentiates a leader from the rest of those in the organization is the ability to create and communicate an inspiring vision. In fact, as a consultant and coach working with numerous leaders over the past twenty years, this is one of the top pain points I see within organizations impacting performance, employee engagement and overall success.
To follow on my previous post on how to assess gaps in the current state to ideal, we mentioned one of the techniques to help organizations perform at the highest level is to have a clear aligned strategy and vision. I would like to take this opportunity to dive deeper on this topic.
Leaders must have vision
By definition, leaders are those that are out in front and therefore need to know where they are going. For example, during an endurance ride on my horse many years ago, I made a wrong turn with horses behind us and ended up on the wrong trail, lost for six hours without any water. No one was happy when we got back to camp. It takes a while (if ever) before anyone wants to follow you again down the trail.
Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Having vision is one of main skills that differentiates a true leader, but having a vision is not enough.
As Kouzes and Pozner describe in their book, The Leadership Challenge,
“only a shared vision has magnetic power to
sustain commitment over time.”
As critical as this is for being an exemplary leader, it is also incredibly elusive.
A shared vision leads to more engagement
In fact, of the 35 years the Leadership Practice Inventory has been studied, a shared vision has consistently been the lowest ranked practice across leaders.
Those who are highly rated on this item have been shown to have constituents that are 25% more engaged in their workplaces
Most of us know as leaders that we need to have vision, but don’t know how to get better at this skill. Leadership is a skill that can be learned and practiced, not something you have to be born with.
Six steps to a great organizational vision
Here are some actions you can take to be more effective in creating and communicating an inspiring vision:
Step 1: Determine your personal vision
Ask yourself: what drives you as an individual? What is your passion and is it compelling to you?
Step 2: Listen
Listen to those in your organization about what gives them purpose and meaning.
Step 3: Collaborate
Involve a cross-functional team in crafting a vision that is more attractive than the present. State it in a way that pulls people forward, projects a clear image of a possible future, and generates the enthusiasm and energy to strive toward the goal.
Step 4: Assess the vision
Assess the vision by asking stakeholders:
Did this vision motivate them to join the organization, and does it continue to motivate them once they are there?
Does this vision provide a beacon for guiding the kinds of adaptation and change required for continual growth?
Step 5: Live the vision
Embed the vision into the organization. It can NOT just be a sign on the wall.
A great example is a recent client who made a video with various leaders and employees talking about the vision and what it meant to them. All employees have watched the video as part of the last employee all-hands and it is now being used as part of onboarding. You can watch the clip here.
Step 6: Set goals related to the vision
Have a goal-setting process where everyone in the company’s goals and objectives align with the strategy and vision. If someone has a goal that does not align, demonstrate leadership courage to help them stop doing things that distract from the vision and strategy
Take your vision further
Once the vision is clear and the strategy is set, then we can assess the organization to make sure all aspects, including structure, processes, rewards, and people are aligned and supporting that direction.
In the next two posts, we will unpack how to understand where your organization has strengths and opportunities.
Want to put your vision to the test? If you are interested in a quick self-assessment on how effective you are at inspiring a vision, please click here.
Blog Series: Simple Steps for Organizational Success
Part 1: How did your organization start and where is it going?
Part 2: Create a clear vision for your organization
Part 3: Assess the current state of your organization: The Galbraith Star Model
Part 4: Create an action plan for your organization