Thursday, November 12, 2009

Developing and Communicating Your Vision

In my last blog entry, I talked about teams performing their best when there’s a vision of success. I mentioned that it is the leader’s job - moral obligation, actually – to concoct and communicate this vision. He/she must then follow up to insure that this vision is internalized and lived by the team. I also said that the ability to do this is a critical discriminator that separates effective from ineffective leaders. This is the second of three blogs and will cover the development and communication of the vision of success.

As an aside, I referenced my son’s football team. Please allow me to very proudly announce that they won the Division Championship!! See? They played with a shared, internalized vision of success. (A killer defense helped!)

So, how does a leader develop this vision of success? My immediate answer is that it’s done with a lot of help. I received a lot of great feedback and commentary on my last post, and a point was made that the team must be involved in this. I agree wholeheartedly. Buy-in to anything is best achieved when those who must implement it have an active role in the development. This vision must satisfy the goals and objectives of each team member. The goals and vision of the parent organization also come into play. That is best accomplished by finding out what the leader’s superiors’ goals are and making sure the vision marries up with and is supportive to the organization’s objectives. That is the key, critical task…taking the various and sundry entities involved and meshing and melding sometimes conflicting goals, agendas, and objectives, flavoring them with the leaders own “spice,”then boiling them all down into a solid, easily articulated vision for the team.

Once done, the next task is communicating this vision. In the age of email, websites, Twitter, etc, that can be a tricky task. In addition to calling the team together (in person, preferably) and reviewing it, the vision must be formalized into the rating and evaluation “system.” I’m a big believer in frequent, documented (written) feedback and communication between leader and team. That feedback must then follow, or track, to quarterly, semiannual, and annual performance reviews. These reviews should and must have an input mechanism for the individual being rated or evaluated. Make that vision a part of this input, regular feedback, and formal reviews. In addition, the leader’s supervisors must be in on and supportive of this process. Individual behaviors that support the vision should be noted, as are behaviors and performance that detract from the vision.

I’ll cover acting on these behaviors and performance in the last part of this trilogy, as part of inspiring, training, educating, coaching, and motivating.

Again, importantly, it’s the leader’s ability to get his/her team through this process, that will, in large part, determine the success of the team…and the leader.

That’s the point!

- Tony