The vision of an individual or team is only as good as their ability to effectively represent the vision to others. This delineation may be to stockholders, the board of directors, the management team, clients or the overall organization. It must be to any and all that will have a role, no matter how small, in contributing to that vision.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” Jack Welch
Among the definitions for “vision” is ‘an experience in which a personage, thing, or event appears vividly or credibly to the mind, although not actually present’. While unified support is strongly dependent on how effective vision is communicated, sustained morale is dependent on how strategy, goals, objectives and values are achieved.
There is often a difference in what the workforce desires to keep their job compared to what they look for when seeking a new job. When seeking a new job most are looking for increased salaries, benefits and growth potential. While with a company they want to feel appreciated, believe they can contribute and have a clear understanding as to where the company or organization is heading and how it plans to get there. It is far more cost effective for a company to work hard and retain good employees.
The problem with vision is often cohesion. Given the varied organizations where I have worked, I have often witnessed the “it’ll never work” syndrome. People who will dismiss an idea or an approach at conception. Like an acid, this negative perspective can eat through the best of ideas removing the shine and eroding the integrity. Whatever the problem, on the path to the root cause we may likely find low morale, limited trust, valid apprehension, hidden agendas or simple lack of understanding.
For our purposes, cohesion is the ability for all aspects of the organization to coalesce around the vision. This is where the true dynamics of team work and optimal contribution can be realized.
For me, the best example of cohesion was when I served in the U.S. Marines. Our unofficial mantra was “adapt, improvise, and overcome”. We received a lot of hand-me-downs from the Army and we were not always the best equipped. Despite this, we were successful against tremendous odds because of the cohesion of the team and the creativity forged from our success-based attitudes.
To foster cohesion the vision and mission must be confidently articulated. It is most beneficial to explain the situation being addressed and how the vision addresses the situation and future. Team members thirst to know the expectations and how they will participate. It is in every ones best interest to know how effective the work is proceeding through well establish metrics. Naturally, there will be many opportunities to make course corrections. Well conceived and timely metrics will make such adjustments and refinements more accurate while contributing to a stronger architecture.
There are several components to consider when executing the actions necessary to make the vision a reality. Below is a map of the key components which I will address in a separate post. It is important to remember that it does not have to be a complicated or drawn out process. It will be proportionate to the size of the task and organization – no bigger and no smaller. Once it is done successfully a few times, the effort will become smoother and the morale and support much stronger.