First Vision, Then Action

“The very essence of leadership is that you have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” –Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

We’ve worked with many organizations over the years that work hard to create and articulate a vision. Perhaps this is done as part of a strategic planning process. Or, sometimes it occurs when a new leader takes the helm and s/he wants to create energy and excitement for a change in direction. While it is common to create a vision at the organizational level, the process of translating this vision to the department and/or team level occurs much less frequently. If the vision isn’t made real at the ‘local’ level, employees often fail to see the bigger picture and how their work connects to overall organizational goals and outcomes. To help create a department and/or team vision, we offer the following questions for consideration:

1. What is key to the future of your department or team? What unique contribution should your team/department make?

2. What would excite you about being part of this department/team in the future?

3. What values need to be stressed?

4. What are or should be your department’s/team’s core competencies?

5. What is your vision regarding the product or service your department provides to customers (both internal & external)?

6. What is your vision of how employees work and interact with each other? Of the morale and climate of your department/team?

7. What is your vision of your interactions with those you lead? Of your relationship and interactions with your colleagues and peers? Of your relationship and interactions with your boss?

8. How does your department/team vision build on and reinforce the organization’s vision?

9. What do you need to do to create alignment of your vision?

10. What key strategic actions will help you achieve your vision?

Remember, your department or team vision shouldn’t be created in isolation. Get your employees involved. Open up dialogue. A shared vision will be far more powerful than one that is handed down.

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