“Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” – Ira Glass
There are literally dozens of things that impact the success or failure of an organization. Some of them get a lot of press: do you have a great product or service, are you great at sales & marketing, etc. Those are the kind of topics that people like to talk about.
The ability to create & communicate a compelling vision is another factor, and this one gets mentioned from time to time as well. The focus, though, tends to be on the charismatic kind of leader who stands in front of her people or in front of shareholders or investors and says things that give people goosebumps. When they’re done speaking, everybody stands up and cheers and then posts stuff on social media about what a visionary this leader is, etc.
That’s all fantastic. It’s absolutely true that creating and communicating a compelling vision matters, and you do have to communicate with some passion, and it does have to resonate with people. But there’s way more to it than that.
The people inside your organization need to feel like that vision will impact them in a positive, meaningful way. And that doesn’t just happen with one speech. It happens with consistent communication, both in speech and in action, day after day, starting with the leaders and working its way through the entire organization.
You can’t communicate that vision once or twice and consider it job done. It’s a job never done. It’s continuous. And that communication is continuously evolving. Your vision may remain consistent, but the people in your organization are all different, and there will be new people coming on board. You have to be able to communicate that vision in such a way that it’s meaningful to people of different backgrounds, with different hopes & dreams, living in different realities.
And that’s really hard. My experience working with leaders is that the one thing they don’t spend enough time on is how & what they communicate regarding their vision. There’s a lot of “winging it” and making stuff up on the fly, when really those kinds of conversations and communications should be carefully thought through as much as possible.
How are you communicating your vision? How does that communication sound to different individuals within your organization? What part of it is meaningful to them? If you can’t clearly answer those questions, then you have some work to do.