A vision is merely a thought or an idea until it is properly realized and communicated. To “realize” is to bring into concrete existence. Realization is the application of faith to the idea; what brings it to life. Things that live use some form of communication, and in doing so, share of themselves. These same truths are required for vision and the need to communicate the vision properly. If we fail to communicate our purpose and who we are, others may never know our intent or purpose. The same holds true for vision in that if the vision is not properly communicated team members and stakeholders will not truly understand the vision’s purpose, intent and the overall goal.
As the vision is communicated, the audience should understand the intended outcome, the reward in seeking out the outcome, what participants (team members) are involved, team member roles and the target. These areas can be communicated using various methods. At minimum, team members that are critical to the vision should receive formal communication in-person (if possible) to cover the five communication components.
Where are we going?
Setting and communicating the intended outcome is what the vision is all about. This area lets team members know, at a high level, where they are going and what path they will take to get there. To make this component resonate with your audience, show the correlation between the current position and the intended position; highlight progress. This discussion should be tailored based on the audience. Tailored communication messages may be required to support situations in which vision requires dissemination on many organizational levels. The audience-based message will change according to the expected level of involvement and the stakeholder’s personal initiatives. For example, a team member’s role will differ greately from a senior leaders role. While both may be affected by the vision, their draw and connection to the vision will be different.
What’s in it for me?
Make the connection for your team and stakeholders. Let them know how the outcome and end
result will benefit the organization and the team. Furthermore, show how the outcome can benefit them as an individual. Not all goals will serve to benefit the individual, but allow some flexibility in trying to make the connection and also allow the opportunity create or develop a connection. Showing the benefit to the individual gives team members a vested interest in the outcome. This association creates a sense of ownership in the outcome.
How do we get there?
After sharing the vision and getting buy-in, the next step is to map out the plan. The evolution of this stage will depend heavily on the style of leadership the leader is exhibiting. A leader that is truly hands-on and prefers to be the sole owner of the task definitions and deligation may choose to write the plan and also define all the required elements to reach the desired outcome. Other leaders may choose to involve the team in the “how do we get there” area.
While there is not one require method to define the how, it is wise to involve direct team members in some part of the plan development stage. See this as an opportunity to brainstorm with the team and catch any new ideas that could make reaching the intended outcome in a shorter amount of time.
Who is “we” and what are “we” to do?
During the communication process, all team members and roles should be defined. Failing to communicate team members and each role can have adverse effects on the implementation, progress and ultimately completion of tasks associated with the vision.
Stress the importance of each role and how the team functions briliantly when all parts are in place and functioning as expected. Also stress the importance of team ownership and accountability. When working toward a common goal team members depend on each other to accomplish the smaller tasks. When all team members clear on the expectation of each role, there is less confusion and each person is expected to complete the identified tasks.
Are we there yet?
Set a target. While the outcome sets the overall goal, the target gives the team an indication of arrival. It is at the point you reach the target when you can successfully say you have your product. An example of this dynamic is seeking to increase sales for a team by changing a contact strategy, while the vision may ultimatly seek to increase sales, the target identifies a measure for increase. It is when the contact strategy is implemented and the sales target is reached that the vision realized or obtained.