Building your team around a common vision is a complicated matter the larger your organization is and the more personalities are at the table. We've discussed strategic planning before, but building a vision goes beyond that. It's both simpler to define and more complex to implement.
In the following article, we'll be discussing how to do it the right way as well as the challenges you need to be mindful of as you go. Let's begin!
Vision Does Not Begin With Teams
You have heard the saying, "Too many cooks in the kitchen"? When it comes to vision, there’s a lot of truth in that.
Very few people are cut out for leadership positions. In fact, your company does not need to be stocked with 100% leaders. You also need foot soldiers.
It is not the job of a foot soldier to guide the company in the path it should go. It is his or her job to follow and deliver on the plan.
They look to their leaders to provide a blueprint for success. It’s your job to give it to them. Building a shared vision starts with one overarching goal from the few or the one who is "in the know" about what the company or organization needs.
Don't overcomplicate this. Let's look at a specific example in the world of modern policing.
21st Century Policing
A police department's goal to improve the lives of its citizenry, for example, can lead them to several differing approaches from a commitment to mental health response and de-escalation to following up with at-risk families and individuals to ensure they're getting the help they need.
This example requires the work of patrol officers, detectives, crime prevention, administration, and communications officers acting in several different directions to accomplish the one goal. Apply this to your business or organization and find the one thing you want to accomplish.
Spreading Your Vision Takes Captains
With any organization or business vision, it takes buy-in from your management team to get those they lead on board. That means regular communication of your goals.
Micromanaging every aspect of the enterprise to achieve your vision is a big sign that you're failing. If you can't motivate your "captains" to do the work that needs to be done, then how do you expect them to do it?
There are ways to get your captains to take up the cause. You can do it in any number of ways:
What is the best way? Wrong question. They all might be necessary at some point, but it's up to you to know when and where to employ them. Let's try another example.
Digital Retail Signage
Around the year 2000, many retail stores employed the use of paper signs to ensure customers knew what certain items cost on sale compared to their regular suggested retail prices. This could get cumbersome on employees when there were one, two, or even three storewide promotions per week.
How did they cope? The establishment of digital signage! National retailers like Kohl's employed this strategy successfully, allowing them to free up more of their employees' time for things like restocking, folding, and customer service.
All these factors improved the customer experience. It also ensured fewer miscommunications at the register.
Weak Links Will Break The Chain
Establishing a company vision means clarity at the top and no weak links in the middle. Your foot soldiers can only do as well as the plan you've laid out for them, and any weak links in the chain of command will only undermine that.
Do you run a company or organization where you have the freedom to move personnel around and take disciplinary action whenever and wherever necessary? If you do, you'll need to take care of those problem weak-links as soon as you possibly can.
Swift action in holding people accountable will tell all of your employees that you have high expectations, and it can also create more opportunities for them to move up the ranks if they're willing to commit wholeheartedly to your vision for the company.
You Need Honesty
Honesty is important when learning how to build a shared vision and rallying others around it. That honesty needs to be applied to both yourself and others.
Address any weak links in your vision by seeking the honest input of others. Establish a safe environment for your captains to be honest about their advice and opinions. You don't have to take every suggestion, but you should be willing to consider what they're suggesting and see if there's a way it aligns.
Furthermore, you need to be honest about the people you have in place to execute your plan. People who are mismatched to their positions should be moved to new departments or out the door, whichever most benefits the company or organization.
Only through an honest assessment of your company will you win the trust of those at the lower levels. You're going to need that trust as we move into the last portion of this post.
And An Action Plan
A team vision requires the buy-in and the execution of every person at your organization. Building their trust will keep them on course as it gets to the implementation of each strategy you have set forth.
Make sure your message is passed on, from top to bottom. As the action plan goes into motion, stop to assess regularly to see if any changes are necessary.
Building Your Team Means Knowing Strengths And Weaknesses
Building your team is an important part of making your vision a reality. Failing to have clarity of vision can cause logjams at various parts of the process.
You must develop the cooperation of your management team so you can build the trust of your foot soldiers. This is true whether you're a business, nonprofit, or public agency.
Keep these realities in mind as you line out the future for your organization. Best of luck! For advice, questions, or to set up an appointment, contact me online today.