"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality."
Every leader has a vision. If you want to see success as a leader, you need to effectively share your vision and ideas.
A "vision" tells your employees or coworkers why they are working for your organization. It paints a picture of success. It's the dream or goal everyone is working towards.
The vision is the destination, and your leadership is the driver on the road towards that objective.
So how can you share your vision in a way that will inspire people to hop in the car and drive towards your goal with you?
As the CEO of Forge, I've found that building a vision often means not doing it all yourself. It means putting the vision into the hands of your employees.
1. Don't pretend to have it all figured out.
You shouldn't have a perfectly formed vision when you go to share your ideas with the team. Collaboration is the foundation for true business development.
I try to frame many conversations by saying: "These are my ideas. Here are the benefits and challenges I foresee. Now I want your input to create the direction of the vision."
My company wouldn't have a vision if it weren't for the collective effort of the Forge team. When I first built our vision, it was very organization-centric. I had a vision based on my experiences, the experiences of my friends and the way I viewed the world. But my team reminded me that our vision also had to be client-centric in order to thrive. We had to listen to clients, rely on their feedback and tailor the product to them.
That collaboration and insight created a stronger buy-in for everyone on our team once we started to see the client's feedback creating more value. They all have a stake in the vision, which builds an intrinsic motivation to participate.
2. Talk about the forest and the trees.
Many leaders have a tendency to only share the big picture of an idea because it tends to be more inspiring and exciting. However, sharing the details of a vision is just as important as the picture. What do we need to do to achieve our end goal?
In the opposite way, I realized I was a "tree talker." I focused exclusively on delegating details that each person needed to accomplish. Until one day someone said, "but what am I working towards?"
I was managing. I was not leading. I realized that leading to a vision is like doing a puzzle. I could give my team all the puzzle pieces, but I had to show them what the final picture would look like in order for them to know how to move forward and connect the pieces together.
3. Be concise.
When talking about your vision, be short and sweet. If you speak for an extended period of time, your vision will get lost. Employees won't get on board if they don't understand.
Think of your vision as an elevator pitch. I structure my visions as such:
One sentence that shares the desirable end goal
One sentence with the benefits that will come from this vision
Two or three sentences that discuss how you plan to get to that vision
One sentence with the future for collaboration towards the vision
Here is an example of a vision I shared with my team:
We want a more positive work environment.
Positivity will equate to higher productivity and engagement.
We will build this positivity with weekly coffee chats and team building exercises. We have also implemented a flexible work policy that will allow employees to spend more time on their health and families so they can be fully present while at work.
We will continue to collaborate to build work-life balance expectations to create a more positive environment.
4. Model the courage of the vision.
After sharing the vision, you need to go out and live it. Every action and moment should relate to that vision. Transformation occurs both top-down and bottom-up. You need to be the leader of that change.
When I began to live my vision of my ideal organization, that vision came to life. I became the proof that my goals were worthy of rolling out to the organization.
There will be challenges along the way. Undoubtedly, there will be people fighting against your vision. You have to have the courage to stand behind your convictions. You have to stay the path--no matter what comes your way.
Change can be frightening, but it's your job to lead through it. Sharing your vision means directing your team or company towards shared goals and outcomes. With collaboration, direction-setting, and bravery, your leadership will bring ideas to fruition and success.