Don’t Lead In A Vacuum: 3 keys to creating a successful vision

Even under the best of circumstances, creating a business plan and getting others to actually buy into it is a difficult task.  Don’t make things three times as hard by trying to do everything yourself.  That’s the advice from Jesse Stoner in a recent article on Creating a Vision Statement that Works.

Stoner explains that too many executives try to do everything on their own.  They don’t leave room for other people.  As a result, people don’t feel like they own the vision and so they are less likely to follow it.

For executives looking to create a strong picture of the future for their company that will guide planning and decision-making in the coming year, Stoner recommends paying special attention to what she calls the three “hows.”

3 “Hows” of Creating A Successful Vision

  1. How it’s created.  Resist the temptation to huddle together with a small group of executives at an off-site retreat to create a vision for the organization.  While part of leadership entails setting a strategic direction for the company, the key is to make space for all of the people who are going to be responsible for implementing the vision.  If you want them to buy into the vision, give them a chance to be a part of the process.
  2. How it’s communicated.  Avoid the urge to laminate your latest vision statement, frame it on the wall, and distribute copies among the rank-and-file.  Instead, ask managers to share the new vision in small group settings, discuss what it means, answer questions, and gather feedback.
  3. How it’s lived.  This is something that a leader can do personally.  Actions speak louder than words and employees will be watching a senior leader’s behavior to see if the vision is really a new direction or just words on a paper.  Make sure that your behavior is consistent with the stated direction of the company.  Nothing does a better job of bringing a vision to life.

Don’t lead in a vacuum—involve others in the process for better buy-in and greater results.

To learn more about what Stoner has to say on creating a clear direction for 2011, be sure to check out Creating a Vision Statement that Works in this month’s Ignite newsletter.  Also, learn more about a free webinar Stoner is conducting this Wednesday on Creating Engagement and Alignment through a Shared Vision. Over 700 people are registered already!

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