If you were to sit down with any successful business leader, you would most likely hear about a journey and how they did not become successful by accident. Hard work, persistence, and perseverance are of course important, but in order to achieve organizational success, you need to be a leader who understands and fulfills your true role within the organization. The formula is really very simple in concept but can become complex in practice, depending on the size and culture of the organization. In essence, to be a successful leader you need to possess the ability to create a shared vision, align the organization to achieve that vision, and ensure execution of the plan to achieve the vision.
Creating the Vision
The first step in creating a shared vision is to be clear about what you wish to achieve. Your vision should be the desired destination of the organization. The vision should provide clarity of organizational purpose, values, goals, and direction. With a clear destination, you provide your team focus. For people to be truly inspired, the vision needs to be big. It needs to be challenging and needs to generate within you and your team a “call to action”.
Achieving Organizational Alignment
The driving force behind your shared vision is your purpose. When you know and understand the “why”, you’ll be more motivated to focus on the “how”. Unless you instill a sense of purpose in your team, you will have a difficult time getting them aligned towards achievement of the vision, and you definitely will struggle in getting the best performance from them. It just makes sense that the clearer you are about where you’re going, the easier it will be to galvanize your team to work towards it. A clear vision will also help your people to determine their own departmental objectives and to collaborate with others, as they will know that they’re all working towards the same goal. When communicating the vision, avoid doing so from just your point of view. Keep in mind that your team will be more motivated to share your vision if they can connect achievement of that vision with satisfaction of their individual goals. Also, communicate multiple purposes and you will increase the odds that each member of your team will be equally inspired by the vision.
Executing the Plan
Once you have settled on a shared vision, the next step is to establish strategic goals. Remember, the vision is the destination, and the strategy helps to determine the path to get there. Thus, a clear strategy helps to bring a sense of practicality to the vision, so that it seems attainable. Goals should be both measurable and specific so that there will be no ambiguity about whether or not your team is hitting them.
When people of similar interests come together and share a common vision, the collective energy automatically shoots up. Your role is to set the stage for team and organizational success, get the team on board and focused, and follow through to ensure goal attainment.