When you started your business, or you became a business leader, you had a good idea what you wanted to accomplish. That direction was and is your vision, and having a compelling vision helps you be more successful. Communicating that vision helps others be more successful. How you develop and then communicate that compelling vision starts the path to success. A compelling shared vision is even more powerful.
What is a compelling shared vision statement? How do you develop a compelling vision statement? How do you communicate that? A compelling shared vision statement is a communication coming from a collaborative effort that is more powerful than just a vision statement. A compelling vision statement is a word picture of where the team, or you, see’s the business or team going. It involves the behaviors and other drivers that will make the vision happen. A compelling vision statement has multiple parts, it describes where you see the business or team going. It isn’t a goal, it is a direction. To develop a compelling vision, after you pick the statement development team you have to do the following:
You have to decide,
- Where the business or team is going?
- Why does the business or team exist and how does it contribute to the execution of business strategy?
- What values does the business or team have to guide its actions?
All of this is done through a series of steps where you ask and answer questions about your business or team and your hopes for it. You will ask yourself and the team questions such as:
- How does the team or business look today?
- How do we want it to look?
- How will we decide to get there?
- What roles will different people or parts play in the journey?
- What rules, policies and so forth must we follow to get there?
You’ll end up with a lot of answers to these questions and as a team, you’ll have to determine which are the most important. As you narrow that down you’ll eventually end up with a few sentences that describe your compelling vision statement.
Having the statement is only about a third of the effort. You have two more parts, you must communicate that vision and you must act on it. The vision statement for my business, for example, is:
To improve the chances for small business to be more successful and sustainable.
In some instances communication is easy; you simply walk around and talk about the vision with everyone. Regardless of the size of your business, this should always be one of the communication steps. This individual one-on-one or small group discussion will also give you valuable feedback regarding how your vision is being received by others. Learn from that feedback and make adjustments as necessary.
As you share your vision part of your purpose is to get people to accept the vision as if it was their idea and now they own it too. This is an attribute I learned in the Army, to embrace a vision (or strategy) and treat it as if it was my idea. You accomplish this by talking and listening. Mostly you will listen and learn. What you learn can become the means of getting group buy-in for your compelling vision.
Part of the compelling shared vision statement communication is being prepared for objections or even a complete lack of acceptance. You have to gain the trust of those who will live and act on your vision. This can be done if you meet them on their ground, not a team meeting in some room but actually where they work. It is there that you can use real-world examples that are right there in front of you to communicate your vision. It is there that you can talk about the obstacles and challenges they face, how you are there to help them with those, and how the vision will help them too. You may be telling them things that they do not want or are not ready to hear but give them time, as they use their various senses to absorb what your compelling shared vision statement is telling them. Don’t give up but don’t bully them either.
The last step is acting on that statement. Each member of the business or team has a role and now they must do what they can to make the vision a reality.
Developing, communicating, and acting on a compelling shared vision statement takes a bit of courage. If the statement is based on reality it may be unpleasant to hear but eventually, they will accept what it is telling them. You must have the courage to be truthful.
Communicating your vision never stops. As a Business Leader or Owner, your teams look to you for guidance, inspiration, and leadership. Having a compelling shared vision statement is a major step in fulfilling the needs and expectations your workforce has for you.