Visual GPS systems do a brilliant job of showing the traveler both the route and the destination. Does your leadership? Employees, teams, and leaders struggle to advance toward the goal or destination if there’s no clear vision, much less, some short of charted path to get there. Yet, having a vision, or creating one, is an often poorly executed and misunderstood, endeavor that shifts the focus from the vision to the need for consensus on how we should all get there. Rerouting is always an option, but travelers and team members need to see where they’re going before your leadership is helpful or motivating. Answer these three additional questions clearly and those you lead may achieve the goal sooner than even you would have believed possible.
If you’ve even been driving in unfamiliar territory and noted how much longer it seemed to take to arrive than return from there, you’ve experienced the importance of knowing where we’re going. Drivers tend to proceed with caution when the route is not known or familiar. Employees do the same when the goal is not clear or able to be clearly imagined. Slower employees result in slower levels of achievement and few leaders see that as their ideal vision. Show them the map. Help them see the vision. Paint the picture and bring to life your desired destination. To that end, a successful leader’s goal is not the mere creation of a pithy vision statement, but the creation of a clear end goal or achievement to be reached by the team, even if on a daily basis. This is where we are going and when everyone sees it, they proceed with less caution and may even take the initiative to find a shorter route.
Whether there’s traffic or construction or some restricted access, clarity on the path to one’s destination allows for preparation or avoidance of any and all barriers. How do you guide employees to be able to see what’s ahead of them? What are the potential barriers that may sit in or arrive in their path toward achievement of the goal or outcome on your projected numbers or projects? Knowing about the barriers allows time for team members to develop solutions. The more solutions created as back up options, the less time is spent freaking out about those barriers that crop up as surprises. It happens, but when all slow-downs, bottlenecks, client changes, new products, changing systems, mergers or other changes are a surprise to team members, at some point even the best ones will be tempted to just give up and proverbially pull off to some lesser enticing destination for the night. The problem is with work related goals, that night turns into permanent relocation to mediocrity. Clarifying barriers aids employees in being motivated to push forward.
If only we had satellites that tracked the moves and outcomes of every team member. Or maybe that’s not the best idea or best approach to individual privacy. It is satellites that track traffic and time to reach your destination. When it comes to people and their improvement and progress, it’s leadership that monitors what’s needed. In and among the multitude of leader responsibilities, monitoring closely without being a helicopter or hovering, is imperative for swift achievement of the team, department or company vision. Monitor small changes that may be signs of bigger issues. Monitor employee challenges that may change their level of interest. Monitor lip service. Do they understand really or are they giving you a fish story? Are they willing to tell you about the problems or covering until one becomes a crisis? These answers and others that can impede progress on your vision, truly require that the leader continually pays attention.
Creating, discussing and meeting about a leader’s vision happens far more often, sadly, than employees are found to be following and implementing what it takes to achieve it. You may not be able to download the directions to each team members’ phone, but it’s not a bad idea for development. In the interim, work toward downloading your vision differently. Make it as clear as if it were already real. Then point out the detours you see as you’re paying close attention, get out of their way, and let them bring that vision to fruition.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a leadership development specialist and professional speaker. Her coaching, books, and skill based training programs are requested internationally. Monica is the CEO of www.ContagiousCompanies.com and a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives. She may be reached at 1-866-382-0121.