Last week I threw out some ideas that might be a first step towards creating a vision for your organization. Remember, that was just a beginning – you’d still want to think about things like core values, purpose, your business statement, barriers, different scenarios, etc. Obviously there is a lot that goes into creating that vision.
But let’s say you’ve done it. You can picture in your head exactly what you want your business to be. You can even draw it (try it – if you can draw it you can see it; if you can see it you can have it). Are you done? Not by a long shot. Creating a clear vision for the organization means your part of the way there. To get all the way home you’ve got to communicate it to everyone else, and do it in a way that engages everyone else.
You want the stakeholders (owners or employees or whomever is involved) to be thinking “Me too!” when they hear your vision, not “So what?” So how do you do that?
Unfortunately, there’s no single canned speech you can give that will do the job. What might work in one situation might fail miserably in another. But I can think of a couple things to keep in mind regardless of the situation.
First, remember that everyone who is hearing about your vision is different, has different needs, and perhaps values different things in their relationship to the organization. Some people might hear about your vision for growth and advancement and think about the opportunity; other people in your organization might not care about advancement, they just think you’re going to make them work more. You have to tailor the message to the audience – maybe you meet with different groups at different times. Maybe (if possible) you meet with people individually and share how see the vision impacting each of them personally (I’d suggest this with your most vital people anyway). Regardless, your message can’t be one size fits all.
The other thing I’d suggest is to remember that the vision has to be about “we”. It can’t be about you, the leader. It has to be about the organization as a whole. Tell people you need their help & that it can’t work without them. Explain what’s in it for them. Why would they benefit from attaining your vision? Why should they work hard to help the business “get there”? There has to be something that resonates with people if you want them to achieve.
There are no shortcuts to effectively communicating your vision. You can’t just wing it. Put some thought into it. Practice in front of a mirror, or better, a few people you can trust. Don’t let all the work you put into creating the vision go to waste because you didn’t communicate it in a moving and engaging way. It’s too important.