crafting and sharing a well-developed vision can change a person, a team, and
ultimately, a company. When a leader defines the vision and communicates it
effectively, others not only see the big picture, but also see how they can
contribute to the organization’s mission.
People want to work for more than a paycheck. Howard Schultz, CEO of
Starbucks, once said, “People want to be part of something larger
than themselves. They want to be part of something that they’re really proud of,
that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust.” A powerful and
compelling vision makes this possible. It allows you to bridge the gap between
your current reality and the way things could or should be in the future.
Good leaders are driven by their vision, and naturally dissatisfied
with the status quo. Even when they reach the summit of one mountain, they start
looking for the next peak to climb.
Great leaders always keep in mind that they must share their vision
and get their team to join them for the climb.
10 Tips for Conveying Your Vision
1. Own it. Winston Churchill said, “Before you can inspire
with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their
tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe.” Your
passion and conviction will be more compelling than your words. The first person
who should be excited about your vision is you.
2. Appeal to people’s hearts. The ancient Chinese said human
“will” is like a cart being pulled by two horses: the “mind” and the “emotions.”
In order to pull the cart forward, both horses have to be pulling the cart in
the same direction. Engage people’s hearts by giving them a reason to care about
3. Speak to their goals. Many leaders attempt to
share their vision and connect it to their team’s motivations as an
afterthought. Instead, spend time learning about the goals of your people and
connect the vision of the organization to their goals.
4. Keep it simple. People are not motivated by complicated
theories and abstract ideas. The best communicators take the complex and make it
simple. Great leaders use terms and explanations that are easy to understand so
everyone can catch their vision.
5. Paint a clear picture with your words. Recently, I heard
Atlanta pastor Andy Stanley say that if your vision is unclear, “the mist in
your mind will eventually become a fog in your organization.” People think and
remember in pictures. To drive your vision home, give people an idea for the
mind and a picture for the heart—tell them about your customers and clients,
like the senior citizen whose day will be made if she’s shown that little extra
bit of service.
6. Eyes on the prize. What do you hope to accomplish? What
are your expectations of the team? Decide which beliefs, actions and behaviors
will be necessary for your group to create the results you want, then
communicate this to your team.
7. Explain the benefits of buying in. People rarely do
anything until they see the personal, measurable benefits of taking action.
8. Include clear action steps. Although thoughts and ideas
are important, you must give people something to do if they are going to take
ownership of the vision. What is one thing your team can do now in
order to move the organization toward your goals, and how can you clear a path
for them to get started?
9. Model personal commitment. Your teammates are watching
you. They want to see just how committed you are to this big
idea. Never forget that they will see inconsistencies in your language and
behavior if you aren’t fully dedicated. Be vigilant and hold yourself to a high
10. Create a community. Good leaders and visionaries create
a sense of family and a sense of destiny. People love to feel committed to a
shared goal. They want to know that their contributions are valued and
important. Look for ways to encourage a spirit of family and continually
reinforce the goals and future of the organization.
Vision communication is like oxygen in a healthy organization. If you don’t
have a clear picture of where you want to go, you may find your team suffocating
from a lack of purpose and direction. One defining characteristic of leaders is
that they know where they are going and have a plan to get themselves and their
No matter how persuasive you are, be prepared to encounter resistance. Change is uncomfortable.
It often makes people feel anxious and insecure. Once you’ve cast a vision,
allow people time to accept it. The only way to get past the fear is to develop
a vision more compelling than the fear. Look for ways to focus on the passion
behind the vision, and people’s fears will take a backseat to their
Strong leaders unite their people behind a common goal. If you clearly,
consistently and constantly share your vision, it will spread to those around
you. Andrew Carnegie said, “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands
your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” Dare to envision
a future that causes you and your team to wake up every day fueled by
passion and inspired by a meaningful mission.
Instead of scaling the mountain alone, you will climb it together.
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