5 Powerful Tips for Communicating a Vision to Your Employees
Leadership is predicated on a complex and proprietary fusion of diverse factors. There are certain innate elements, as well as skills that are learned over time. But no matter which way you deconstruct the leadership formula, the ability to develop and cast vision is always necessary.
What Makes Up a Vision?
According to best selling business author Ken Blanchard, “Vision is knowing who you are, where you’re going, and what will guide your journey.”
Who you are is really your purpose. Where you’re going is the picture of the future. And what will guide your journey are your values. So there are really three components involved:
- Purpose: Your organization’s reason for existing. Sure, an auto shop might sell new tires, but their purpose is to keep drivers safe on the road. What’s your purpose?
- Picture: This is the image of where you want to be in three, five, or 10 years. It’s the ideal image of the future. An auto shop might say, “We want to be the highest-rated tire installer in the city.”
- Values: These are the morals and guidelines your company operates by on a daily basis. Going back to our example, an auto shop might have values of fair pricing and environmentally safe disposal of old parts.
When you combine purpose with picture with values, the result is your vision. And once you have a vision, it’s time to communicate it to your stakeholders. More specifically, you need to keep your employees informed.
5 Tips for Communicating Your Vision
A vision is basically an actionable explanation of your mission. Whereas a mission informs, clarifies, and appeals to the brain, a vision inspires, challenges, and appeals to the heart.
Here are some tips to help you communicate your organization’s vision to your employees:
1. Make Sure You Understand the Vision
You can’t do a good job of communicating your vision if you don’t understand it yourself. “If it takes you only five minutes to determine your vision and goals, they probably are not fully formed,” PinnacleART points out. “Take some time to think deeply and set time aside for maintenance. Creating a vision and goals is hard and takes patience.”
Don’t push a vision until you’re sure you know what it is. Take a chance to clarify before casting.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
Even when you do understand the vision, you have to communicate it. This takes practice – and lots of it. Practice describing your vision in multiple formats. Begin with the 30-second elevator pitch. Once you master that, try the three-minute discussion. If you feel like you have that down pat, a 10- or 15-minute presentation is the final thing to practice.
Try practicing in front of the mirror, or by using the front-facing camera on your phone and recording your delivery. From there, you can practice these pitches and presentations with a spouse or roommate. And once you finally feel comfortable with both the substance of what you’re saying and how you’re saying it, you can start casting vision with your employees.
3. Turn Your Vision Into a Story
While certain people think best when presented with numbers and facts, the majority of people respond better to storytelling. Find a way to turn your vision into a relatable story that resonates with your audience. The story may change depending on the listener, but the substance of the message – the vision – remains the same.
4. Reiterate the Vision
You can’t tell your employees your vision at a company meeting in January and expect them to remember everything you said for the next 12 to 18 months. It’s important that you reiterate the vision continually. You can do this directly – reusing the same spiel – or indirectly – making offhand comments and suggestions here and there.
5. Help Them Understand What’s In it for Them
It’s one thing for employees to understand the vision, but do they understand what’s in it for them? When they see themselves as critical pieces to the puzzle, they’re much more likely to buy in and cooperate fully.
Taking the Lead
At the end of the day, a vision is only an idea until it’s actually put into practice. It’s up to you to not just communicate your vision through words, but to also follow through with your actions. When employees see consistency between what you say and do, they’ll be much more likely to follow suit.