This tool will enable teams to build a shared understanding of their common purpose, as well as to generate a clear image of the future success they strive to achieve.
Visioning is an important process in order to give all involved focus.
Creating an effective vision becomes the means through which change can be implemented in businesses and organisations such where the natural tendency is to maintain the status quo.
The vision serves several key purposes:
- It clarifies the general direction for the change and in doing so simplifies the direction of the decisions that must follow
- It motivates people to move out of their comfort zone, to take the time to develop new skills and work with different levels of resources
- It coordinates the hundreds of decisions and actions involved in change
The Vision becomes the key driver of change.
A powerful vision has the following characteristics:
- It outlines a compelling reason for change
- It conveys a picture of the future
- It presents a feasible, if challenging, process
- It is focused on what needs to be achieved
- It appeals to the long term interest of all stakeholders
- It is flexible
- It can be communicated easily
- Exchange views and come to agreement about the team’s shared purpose
- Identify the team’s unique contribution to the Company’s success
- Build team commitment to a shared purpose and direction
- Create a compelling image of the team’s ideal future – today
Teams with a clear purpose and vision accelerate their progress toward high performance
- Vision serves as a compass to guide and track team progress
- Focus on future state drives collaboration and co-operation
- By focusing on success, new ways of meeting critical success factors emerge
Teams without clear direction often experience the following obstacles to high performance
- Increased conflict among team members on how to achieve goals due to lack of agreement on team direction
- Team activity does not translate into clear progress without a vision to align team direction. People work in different directions
- A lack of focus on future success can lead to setbacks, which can cause frustration and slow momentum
Why do it?
A Vision is a mental picture of what tomorrow will look like.
Visions generate and focus team energy like lenses that focus rays of light.
They enable everyone to see more clearly what lies ahead.
A team’s vision should express its highest standard of excellence and most prized values.
Team Purpose is a statement of why the team exists.
Purpose gives meaning to daily activities, while vision channels multiple team activities toward a desirable future.
In order for a vision to focus team energy in a common direction, it needs to be shared by all team members.
By generating individual images of success and combining them to create one integrated vision, teams can leverage the potential of the entire team.
Once individuals contribute to a larger vision which aligns team activities, daily progress can be tracked and opportunities to collaborate with one another become more apparent.
Clarifying why a team is on this journey together and what their destination will look like is an important first step toward high performance.
However, accelerating team momentum toward the vision is dependent upon the team’s ability to translate the vision into decisive action.
This requires an ongoing dialogue about the vision and how it relates to daily team functioning and individual behavior.
The real value of creating a team vision lies not in the product itself, but in the conversations and results it generates.
Improvements in team effectiveness that stem from a clear, compelling vision of the future state inevitably leads to new paths of excellence.
Overview of Key Steps
Step 1:Define Team Purpose
- Why has this team been formed?
- What value do you/will you provide to your customers? (Note: Does the team know who their customers are? If not, an earlier step of defining the customers needs to occur. This can be facilitated through a team discussion of who the customers are and capturing them on a flip-chart)
- What’s unique about this team’s contribution to the larger Company Mission?
- Obtain copies of the Company Mission
Step 2: Create Future Images
Questions. Create an image (pictorial) of the ideal future using some of these questions. I
- Who are our customers?
- What value do we provide to our customers?
- How do our customers talk about us?
- How do Company employees and other teams talk about us?
- How do members of the leadership team talk about the team?
- What is the unique contribution this team made to Company success?
- How did our team work together to achieve these results?
- How did successful implementation happen?
- How do we work with our customers to achieve successful results?
- What lessons have we learned in creating success?
Step 3: Display Individual Images
Share team members findings of step 2 above with the group.
Step 4: Create Shared Vision
- Team members will now combine the individual images into a brief paragraph that captures the language and images appropriate to the future.
- As a team, or in sub-groups assembled at each flip-chart, read each of the individual images. Discuss what themes these images share. Look for a way to combine individual images into one compelling vision consisting of 2-4 sentences. Use only the Post-Its on the flip-chart as sources. Be sure to note those images which do not seem to fit with the others. Raise these as questions to the rest of the team. For example, one team member describes an image where the team serves a certain customer and the rest of the team does not consider that potential customer
- Write the summary of individual images on a piece of flip-chart paper
- If the team broke out into sub-groups, assemble everyone and have each group present its part of the vision
- Put all the flip-charts along one wall and move them around until the team has the order they want
- Ask someone to read the entire vision
- Open a team discussion of whether this vision needs additions or alterations
- Gain final agreement on vision
Step 5: Share the Vision
- Distribute the developed vision via e-mail
- Work through the Share the Vision Action Plan below
- Revisit purpose and vision when the team’s working conditions change. This may include changes to existing initiatives, the addition of new initiatives, changes in Company structure, scope or goals, or entry and exit of team members
Sharing the Vision Action Plan
- Advances the Company’s Mission and Critical Success Factors
- Describes the principal function, scope, and services provided by the team
- Is clear and easily understood by those within, and outside, the team
- Identifies key customers or stakeholders served
- Is forward looking
- Describes the team’s unique competencies. What makes this team capable of contributing to the Company’s success in ways no other team can?
- Expresses the beliefs of team members and the organisation about how business should be conducted
- Provides an inspiring, meaningful reason for working together for team members
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