The Importance of Communicating Vision, Part I
Written on October 10, 2012.
Note: Here’s another one of our great monthly rotating guest bloggers. This month’s blog is written by Arlin Sorensen. As both an MSP and business visionary, Arlin serves as the CEO of Heartland Technology Solutions, as well as HTG Peer Groups. In 2013 he is gathering a team of talented minds to launch the Heartland Leadership Group, designed to offer coaching, consulting and content to walk with business owners to achieve their desired growth and legacy.
– Eric Townsend
I read a great blog post by Dr. Bill Donahue about the importance of casting vision – both for your company and yourself – and the things that prevent a leader from doing that well. Vision is a significant issue in small businesses today. Thomas Edison said it best when he said “vision without execution is hallucination.” But sometimes it isn’t a lack of execution, but a lack of sharing the vision that keeps things from getting done. The Bible actually says it more concisely when it says “without vision the people perish.” Vision is critical for us as humans. We need to know what the big picture is so we can align and put our efforts behind that. Here are some reasons leaders fall short in sharing their vision with their team. (Credit for some of these thoughts goes to Donahue)
1) Lack of COMMUNICATION: “Why are we doing what we are doing?”
Many leaders fail to answer the question why. The reality is that most of the time, this is the point where we need to start. We need to begin with why as it gives us the framework for most of the things we need to do to accomplish the task at hand. It is a requirement for the next generation of the workforce who want to understand why they are going to trade their time for a paycheck. They are unwilling to just work because it is what you do – unlike previous generations. There is also an increasing focus by folks in the second half of life asking for that same information. We need to start with why.
2) Lack of CLARITY: “What exactly are we doing?”
It is hard to communicate a compelling vision when there is no clarity about the mission. That begins with our BHAG which is our Big Hairy Audacious Goal – a 10 to 20 year look into the future at a very high level. We must not only ask, but also know, “Where is the team heading?” Without a clear direction there is no need or ability to communicate a vision of what life or work will look like when you get there. Even though in today’s fear-filled climate, the future is less predictable, this does not mean there can’t be clarity. What you are feeling is uncertainty. But don’t let that cloud your vision. Set a clear course for the next quarter or two and then communicate what getting there could be like as you all work together.
3) Feelings of INADEQUACY: “I am not equipped to do this – it is just not my style!”
Some leaders are great at leading the team but lose it when it comes to communicating vision. They mistakenly believe that vision-casting means knowing all the details when the leaders actually have no real clue. Donhue says, “Vision comes from the heart, and can be seen in the eyes, long before it comes out of the mouth.” What do you really believe? Where do you want to take your team, and how will you serve the client? Vision comes from your gut. Before you can BE the change you have to SEE the change. Can you see the difference it will take to get there? If so, just talk about it. Write about it. Share it any way you can – from one-on-one conversations to large company meetings. Vision is created one conversation at a time.
What are you doing to communicate your company’s vision to your team? Let Eric and me know here or on Twitter @HTGmembers or @Eric_D_Townsend, and come back next week to read 4 more ways leaders fall short in communicating their vision.
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