Maybe you are a corporate executive, technical expert, or manager leading your staff through change. Maybe you run your own business. Maybe you lead a project of co-workers or volunteers. Whatever kind of leadership position you have, you know that to get people to be more productive, you need a “shared vision.” When people are on the same page, they accomplish more, faster and with a lot less pain. Without a shared vision, it makes your job as leader more difficult and there is more stress all around.
How exactly do you create a shared vision? Over the past few months, I was coaching a team of six executives at a large corporation. Our goal was to increase staff productivity and performance. However, what we actually accomplished was different. We achieved the basis for a shared vision. That result was unexpected but highly valued by the participants. Here is just some of what we learned.
- To create a shared vision, you need a time and space in which the vision can grow. We committed to meet, once very two weeks, limited to exactly one hour due to busy schedules. People commented how they appreciated this time to stop and work on the big picture.
- Shared vision grows out of shared assurance that everybody gets something. Each team member shared what they wanted to make it worth their time and attention. That sharing created an opening for mutual understanding. No hidden agendas. Participants said this created trust.
- We found out that it is a myth that in order to have a shared vision, everyone has to agree. The executive disagreed on many things but they kept their attention on a repeated search for “what things DO we agree on.” This managed conflict and preserved relationships.
- Shared vision becomes real when all team members take action. The executives agreed to deliver the same message about performance to all staff. This starts the culture change.
These are only a few ways to begin getting everyone on the same page. The key is focusing your team’s attention!