Successful teams know where they’re heading. They know that success takes a lot of work and a share of mistakes along the way.
Leaders who mean business start with the team vision and make this relevant by making sure it helps the team get closer to achieving a business objective.
But what makes the team vision so powerful?
If you don’t know where you’re going, you probably aren’t going to get there. – Yogi Berra
Creating a Winning Team Vision
The team vision guides team choices. It brings meaning and purpose, and it empowers the team to deal effectively and courageously with challenges.
Vision is about the destination. It is where you want to be.
Because the team vision conveys the team’s purpose and what it aims to do, it is a guide to team life and choices. But, this means it has to be believable, and something people can connect with.
The idea of the vision is to describe the team when it is running at full tilt and without limits. So, it makes much sense for the team to contribute to their vision.
Let the team identify with the vision. Ask the team these questions:
- What is working well, what's holding us back, and what can we do better?
- What’s the most important thing we do? And how well does this fit with corporate objectives?
- What are our customers saying about us, and what do our customers want from us?
- What exactly do we need to do?
- How do we turn these ideas into an inspiring team vision?
- Finally, how do we communicate our vision?
Turning the Vision Into Concrete Actions
In Three Reasons Your Team Won’t Reach Its Full Potential, I said an idea is worthless unless it is implemented. The same holds true for the vision.
Now let’s look at turning the team vision into a concrete action plan.
Describe Your Goals
What keeps me going is goals. – Muhammad Ali
Goals describe the tangible steps the team must take to move toward the vision. Goals describe the desired result. They are a broad, general expression of the team’s aspirations.
While goals may be broad, they must still focus on outcomes. They portray the team’s vision and answer the question: what will it look like when the team begins to fulfil the vision?
So, think of a few things the team needs to achieve and measure to support the vision.
Set S.M.A.R.T. Objectives
Management by objectives works if you know the objectives, 90% of the time you don’t. – Peter Drucker
When the team identifies how to measure progress, it is setting objectives. Team objectives give more detail, they are focused and time-bound. Objectives should always be SMART:
- realistic, and
SMART objectives challenge the team, but are always achievable. What’s more, responsibility for each objective should be assigned to someone in the team and progress measured.
Draw Up the Action Plan
If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don't have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. – Steve Jobs
Once you have objectives, it is time to draw up an action plan. This provides the basis for managing daily progress toward goals and objectives.
Complete it with the team and refer to it at regular one-to-one supervision meetings.
When the team completes an action, with the objective fulfilled, the team develops a greater sense of purpose and achievement. Success creates success. This is a hallmark of the high-performance team.
Remember, the team will be more effective when it participates in developing and delivering the team vision, its goals and objectives.
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
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