Do you want a highly motivated workforce that, “gets it” and does what you’d want them to do, even when you’re not around? If so, you’ll want to practice this key leadership practice every single day.
Two of the more common problems I encounter when working with owners and CEOs (as well as other senior leaders) are that
- They don’t communicate enough with their people and
- They relegate vision casting to a once a year or an occasional communication practice
Both of which are disastrous choices. Vision casting is what leaders do. Your job and mine, whenever we’re leading, is to take a group of people somewhere. In order to take them somewhere, our first job is to figure out where that somewhere is. And our second job is then to cast a vision to that group of people in such a way that they’re motivated to follow us to that preferred future destination. Sounds simple.
The problem, of course is that people leak vision. And not just over weeks or months, they leak vision every day. So if you rally your team together for a quarterly or annual meeting and say, “This is where we’re going!” guess how long that motivation lasts? Exactly. For less that 24 hours (for most people).
As soon as they get back to their office or desk or _______ and they begin to focus back on their to do list for the day, get interrupted by phone calls and emails, get caught up in an interoffice conflict, drive home, cook or eat dinner, interact with their family and/or friends, watch their favorite television show, go to sleep, and get up the next day to do it all over again, your colorful well-rehearsed vision-casting episode from yesterday is lost on 99% of your people.
So, what’s a leader to do? Answer: Start dripping vision into everything you do.
- When you’re leading a meeting, reference the vision (“Remember, we said we’re going to …”)
- Share stories of people successfully fulfilling the vision (“I’m so excited about what Shari has done …”)
- When you correct people, call them back to the vision (“This doesn’t fit with who we are.”)
- Drip vision into every letter and newsletter or company-wide communication (“This quarter we’re focused on …” or “Remember, our core value of excellence …”)
- Show pictures of other companies or people that are successfully doing what you want (“Isn’t that server a perfect picture of the kind of person we want handling our call center calls?”)
- Talk about the vision when you’re walking with people or having a meal together.
You get the picture. My advice to leaders is always the same. Double the amount of communication you have with your people. And two, drip vision into everything you do EVERY DAY. It’s virtually impossible to over-communicate with your people and near impossible to cast vision too much. So don’t worry about either. Just communicate more and cast vision every day. I can virtually guarantee that you’re not communicating as much as your people want or need (and clearly not casting vision enough).
If you’ll do those two things, every day, you’ll be amazed at how much more enthusiastic and productive your people are–and how much more they act in alignment with what you want.
So, let me offer you a two-week vision casting challenge. For the next two weeks, I want to encourage you to focus on communicating more with your whole team and specifically, with casting vision everyday with individuals on your team (as well as during any group meetings you have scheduled). If you do this right, I guarantee you that you’ll see a huge difference on your team.
The people who work for you want to be led. So lead them well with a compelling vision. And never ever forget, vision leaks every day. Therefore, cast vision every day.
To your accelerated success!
P.S. This is a 365 day challenge. It’s not an issue of knowing about the idea or concept of casting vision, it’s about actually doing it—EVERY DAY! So have you been? If not, do it more. You’ll be amazed at the results the more consistently you do this! Trust me!