There is much ado about “vision.” How organizations and their teams need a clear “vision” for success – a statement that brings the desired destination to life. That is inspiring and memorable. Oh, and fits nicely in a beautiful frame hanging in the lobby.
If you and your leadership team happen to coalesce to produce a fanciful phrase during your one day off-site retreat – good for you!
My experience is that happens far less than you have been led to believe. In fact, I no longer even bother trying to winnow down some thoughts on a piece of flip chart paper into a terse, yet inspiring sentence.
But what IS necessary is agreement into the general destination. And what I mean by “general destination” is the core elements that define the team’s desired definition of “success.” Much like driving from coast to coast, you can’t just set out on any road and expect to arrive at your destination (unless you live in the world of Alice in Wonderland, where any road will get you there!).
You have to know the general direction. Get out a roadmap and figure out the best way to get there and key pitstops (or milestones). Point the vehicle – be it a car, plane, train or go-cart (the organization’s resources, people, intentions) toward that general destination and start moving. As long as you keep moving toward your desired destination, you’ll get there…eventually.
What is most clear during the day (and less so at night, even with high powered headlamps) is what is currently in front of you and a few hundred yards beyond. No more. You’ve got your map, GPS, and signs to reassure you and your team that you are going in the right direction. And that’s why it is supremely important to check in with each other frequently. To keep each other on track, focused, committed, and energized about the possibilities.
Interestingly enough, after you have journeyed down the road with your compatriots for a while, endured a few mishaps and potholes, that miraculous vision statement will plop out of someone’s mouth! You’ll know it because the sounds resonate with the team…..team members start saying it to each other. It energizes them. It’s memorable and contagious. It’s inspiring. And it becomes alive – more than a trite vision statement hanging on the wall in the lobby.
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.