“Leaders have a vision”
In our “Leaders Are…” series, we’ve covered trusting, curious, coaches, self-aware, challengers, influential, celebrators, developers, and accountable. Time for its conclusion – “Leaders Are…Visionaries.” Visionaries has been a very popular vote amongst community supporters, and I saved it for the end intentionally. As we near year end, and have some time to reflect, resetting the vision for our team’s next year is very powerful.
Good leaders set long term goals, collaborate with the team, and share results frequently and seamlessly with the team.
Set long term goals
We’ve already talked a lot about the importance of goal setting. Wildly Important Goals (WIGs) are critical at an individual and team level. What makes them zing is when individual and team goals map to higher level organizational long-term goals. People need to know that the work they do individually and as a team contributes to an overall a collective success. When teams do, they feel a deeper sense of purpose and perform at a higher level. It’s not about just punching a time clock, it’s about making a difference.
The vision often includes an affirmational statement including a set goals. As a rule of thumb, set no more than five goals, as focus often becomes a challenge. Long term goals are best set one to three years out. Some organizations set a long term vision of five years, and what I often hear is that it is so far out that the market shifts or the needs change, and the vision adapts, as it should. Good visions, are succinct, provide focus, and paint the picture of what success looks like. Asking your team, “what does success look like for our team next year, the year after, and three years out?” is powerful.
Collaborate with the team
Which brings me to involving the team in the process. The best leaders co-create the vision alongside of their teams. That doesn’t mean it’s a consensus. Consensus usually results in a watered down, generic vision that lacks clarity. A good vision statement is short, to the point, and people can visualize the success the team will achieve when they read it. A good team exercise is to have any and all ideas collected through strong facilitation, and then a priority setting activity to narrow down the top three ideas that must be in the vision. An old adage, “people need to weigh in, to buy in,” applies here. When the team feels heard, they are far more likely to align to the vision, even if it is different than their own.
Share results frequently
It’s important that the team feels connected to the results. This means that the leader’s job is to share successes and setbacks frequently and seamlessly. The results also are connected to individual performance. Good leaders start team meetings sharing business results on their goals, and start individual meetings asking their team members – “how can I help you achieve your goals?” They are there to support the team, provide access to tools and resources, and coach them to success. It’s seamless – the vision and goals are automatically incorporated into daily activities, and accountability and success builds over time.
Those that collaborate on a vision and share results frequently, achieve better business results.
How will you be a visionary for your team?
Next year, we will focus on everyday leadership stories. To be a part of the next blog, share your ideas and stories with Julie @ firstname.lastname@example.org. What’s your story?