how to build a strong team vision

How To Build a Strong Team Vision

Whenever I work with a new team, one of the first questions I ask is “what is the team vision?” Most of the time, this is tough to answer. There is usually strong alignment and attachment to the greater organization’s vision and values, which is vital.

What’s frequently missing is a sense of team vision.

Sure there are goals, but they may or may not be inspiring. To build results that last, people want a connection to something bigger. The more localized you can make the vision, the more engaged your team will be in accomplishing it.

In her post, “A Big Goal is Not the Same as a Vision, “Jesse Lynn Stoner shares:

“One way to distinguish between a vision and a goal is to ask, “What’s next?” A vision provides clear ongoing direction—it is clear what you should do next. As you take each step, the next one becomes clear. A vision continues to act as a beacon, guiding you in setting new goals once current ones have been achieved.”

How to Build a Strong Team Vision

1. Start One on One

Talk to each team member individually about the possibilities for the team at it’s very best.  Define the future. Imagine possibilities.

  • What would it look like if we were to do our very best?
  • What would we be known for?
  • What would we accomplish?
  • How would the team be working together?
  • What will it take for us to get there?
  • As the team leader, what’s the most important way I can contribute to this future?

2.Set the Stage

Schedule time where the team can work uninterrupted. Bring some easel paper, markers and sticky notes

3. Begin with the company vision and values

Ensure everyone understands the big picture – what does success look like for the company? The team vision must directly support the company’s overall vision and strategy.

4, Imagine it is 5 years from now. The team is being recognized for making a game-changing contribution.

  • What is the most important work we are doing?
  • What are our customers saying about us?
  • What does it feel like to work on this team?
  • What is senior management saying about us?

5. Turn the ideas into a bold statement of the desired future. Eg: “We will be known for the best customer service in the nation.”

6. Determine how you will measure success

“… as measured by NPS, repeat calls, and customer churn”

7. Identify specific behaviors

Identify behaviors that are needed from you (the leader), and each member of the team to make the vision a reality. Write them down. Create a matrix of what each key role must be doing to accomplish the vision.

8. Stakeholder

Share your vision and key behaviors with your boss and other key players. Refine as needed to ensure your breakthrough vision is aligned with evolving strategy.

9. Get to work

How will you link everything you do and say back to the vision?

Recognize early success. What has gone well? How and when can you acknowledge these early victories, tell the stories, and encourage momentum?

Be impatient. Support your stragglers. Teach your team to share their good work.

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Posted in Communication, Results & Execution and tagged , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

11 Comments

  1. The imagine questions get the team envisioning what they’ll “feel” like once they’re in the middle of living the vision.

    A vision is difficult to envision. The word is associated with seeing yet it’s hard to see.

    So, the imagine questions are great at bringing out the feelings of the group.

    Finally, many leaders never go through this exercise. They’re not humble enough to share the vision.

  2. Steve, thanks for sharing… agreed… a vision can be to see. I think it’s easier to get folks involved early rather than trying to get them to “see it” after it’s fully formed.

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