What is the driving purpose that motivates your team and energizes them? As a leader it’s your responsibility to define and communicate vision to your team. Organization strategic vision is more than a few lofty sentences about general future success. It’s a uniting and motivating force.
What is a powerful organizational vision? It is a defining and realistic picture of the organization’s future described meaningfully for your employees. It’s a powerful mental model of future success that is believable and attainable, but just out of reach. It clarifies purpose and direction in a way that increases commitment and sense of community.
So, how do you set an organizational strategic vision and communicate it to your team?
- Learn everything you can about your organization – Open your mind and really evaluate the current situation. What does your company do well? What is your team proud of? Look beyond corporate goals and understand the work culture of employees at every level. Find what your organization does well and start there. Focus your vision on excellence and challenge the team to improve on their strengths.
- Dream Big – Resist the urge to limit your thinking to the current direction of your organization. Instead open your mind to possibilities. What could your team achieve if properly motivated? Make sure your dream is attainable but is extraordinary enough to push everyone to a higher standard of excellence. As you define a motivating purpose for your team, make sure it isn’t commonplace. People are not inspired by the status quo. A truly inspirational purpose challenges your team to try and achieve a level of performance they’ve never reached before.
- Seek Input – Sometimes the best insight comes for simply asking questions. Ask your colleagues and subordinates what they feel the organization does well. Then challenge them by asking how the organization could become truly excellent. Encourage your team to dream about future excellence and how to achieve it.
- Articulate your vision – Similar to an elevator speech or a slogan, your organizational vision must be easily understood by employees at all levels. Resist the urge to write another vision statement or canned paragraph. Instead, focus on a vision in plain language you can share with everyone. Your employees won’t embrace what they don’t understand.
- Live it – Most of communication is non-verbal. If you want employees to catch your vision and make it their own you must live it. For example, does your vision involve giving world class customer service? Let your employees see you engage with customers according to that vision. Take it even one step further. Give your employees the level of service you want them to give your external customers. Unless employees see you pushing toward your vision of excellence your purpose won’t motivate them.
- Tie every task to the vision – Each employee, regardless of the task, is a part of moving the organization forward. Every employee is part of a team committed to excellence even if their particular task is not directly related. Make sure they know they are part of the team and their efforts are essential to future success.
Your team is looking for more than just a paycheck. They want to believe that their work makes a difference. As a leader it’s up to you to set the vision and align the entire organization strategically behind it. As you define excellence, articulated it clearly and live it before them you will change the context and the meaning of work for your team. They will go from just doing a job to being a part of something meaningful.