As a manager, you know that your employees need a clear common team vision of what they want to achieve in order to make the company successful. However, it’s not easy to share this vision with everyone. Sometimes, your team members may have different perspectives on the company’s mission or vision, and may not agree on how it can be achieved. In this post, you will learn the techniques to establish a common vision in your team, thus creating fulfilling and collaborative team dynamics.
What brings people (and team members) together?
Have you ever thought about what holds a nation together despite the challenges and conflicts of daily life? Shared beliefs, attitudes, values, and culture are crucial factors that allow people to rise above and maintain a cohesive society.
Let us throw you back to an important historical event:
‘On August 28, 1963, a quarter-million people gathered to support civil rights and to share Dr King’s dream of equality”.
Do you know why Martin Luther King Jr. was known as one of the most visible spokespersons and leaders? Get back to the quote and find the word “share”. He was a successful leader because he created synergy and unified people around the same vision to fight for a common goal. Namely, because they shared the same vision, they managed to achieve many goals that changed their lives profoundly.
Now think about what brings professionals and experts with different skills and background experience together in a team, despite the everyday ups and downs at work? The same thing Dr King used – shared principles. You can notice the similarities, right? The innate desire to ‘co-create’ a meaningful project is essential for us. In terms of internal corporate structure, to create a unique and common vision, you need to align people around such.
When working with teammates and colleagues, the process is no different than the example above. A key element of effective leadership is the ability to develop a vision – an inspirational description of where you, as a leader, would like to take the business and your people. However, a crucial requirement is for your team vision to be shared so every member is on the same page, excelling and working towards the same objectives.
Common team vision is about everything that drives our work
Vision is a central concept in transformational leadership theory and has been shown to impact performance positively. It includes concepts as values, purpose, and strategy. Why is it so important?
The Team Vision benefits both managers, as team leaders, and all team members, who are micro leaders in their respective teams. Nowadays, the continuously changing market requires people to be flexible, adaptive, team-oriented, and fast in decision making. Hence, every individual is a manager of his own workflow. To achieve that, you need a team common vision to ensure the processes are smooth and efficient. Moreover, when the vision of your team is shared, people feel more satisfied.
Why is that?
Because then we feel that we are contributing to the creation of something valuable. People are willing to perform tasks that are meaningful to them. Therefore, as a team member, you will feel more engaged, responsible, and ready to outperform if you are working on a task that you define as meaningful.
If you manage to align your vision with your peers’ ones, accomplishing goals won’t be an overwhelming and indifferent process anymore. On the contrary, if everybody shares the same vision, collaboration and communication will be enhanced. Consequently, you will increase the overall team performance.
Great leaders don’t lead in isolation
If you really want to harness the power of your company’s or team’s vision, it should not just come from leadership in isolation. The vision should reflect the interests and purpose of all team members. If only you perceive the team vision as valuable and nobody else sees it like that, accomplishing the mission of business alignment is impossible.
If you create yourself a vision, you cannot expect them to be as engaged and as productive as you without synchronising it to your colleagues’ ones. If nobody else feels the same sense of ownership, they will not invest the same time and effort as you.
In contrast, when the team vision is formed by all who it will guide, it is shared — everybody will invest their time and effort to bring this vision a life. The work becomes more personal to everyone in the team and, in that, more meaningful. In other words, everyone should contribute to the creation of the team vision statement.
Common team vision is a win-win
Whether you are a manager or not, you have certain responsibilities and have to collaborate with others to achieve goals efficiently. Whatever your position is, you are part of a team, and you depend on other people.
If your objective is to energise your team, gain their commitment, and provide direction, you might want to consider getting others involved in the creation process. The team vision should transform from “my vision” to “our vision” or “the team’s vision.” There are numerous benefits of involving all team members in the creation of the team vision.
Which are some of the most important advantages you can derive from aligning the team ideas, goals, and dreams in a common vision?
- United, motivated, and result-driven team.
- Team members appreciate the autonomy given and feel more responsible.
- Team members feel satisfied because you ask for their opinion.
- Significant cost savings on training and orientation costs (self-improvement).
- Better understanding between team members.
- Workplace coordination and communication increases.
- Trust among team members increases.
- Boosts creativity and performance.
- High morale rate in teams.
- The efficiency of team members increases.
- Quicker strategy implementation due to goal-alignment.
- Naturally- innovative corporate culture.
- Organic and critical decision making.
- Boosted work performance due to enhanced efficiency.
- Low turnover rates due to the team’s engagement and satisfaction
- Better employee work-life balance
How to lead with a shared team vision?
Now, once you know how important the common vision and the aligned team is, you should try to put it into practice and show your team that all of you share a common vision.
Show your team members how their work contributes to the success of the company
People want to know why and what for they are performing particular tasks. If they see no value in getting a job done, most probably they will refuse to do it or will do it poorly. Team members need to recognise the impact their actions have on the overall company’s performance, vision, and reputation.
Key Takeaway: Each team needs to know whether their contribution made some difference to the business journey.
Step #1: Look at alignment as a process that starts with telling teams why your company vision is crucial for success and how their daily tasks directly impact it.
Step #2: Give your teams specific objectives that offer step-by-step guidance for accomplishing a set of objectives.
Step #3: Make the vision matter to them by showing your teams that they play a valuable role in helping the company achieve its goals.
Project management software is an excellent way of visualising how each task contributes to bigger company milestones. However, you can complement the use of software with team building activities. Unifying people around a game develops the corporate culture and also gives the freedom to discuss various topics. How will you show that their job plays a valuable role in the overall team’s performance? You are going to speak out loud about their professional accomplishments. Games like the ones in KissTheFrogNOW Discussions or Personal Questions are a great platform through which to express your acknowledgement and share a point of view freely.
Set the stage – encourage more skills & knowledge acquisition
People often mistake creating a team vision with being a pure visionary. The latter are natural talents and organic players. However, to create a vision, one needs to possess certain soft skills such as:
- Cause-effect analysis
- Data correlations
- Logic thinking.
The path of creating a team vision statement could be defined as a hilly one with a lot of curves. In other words, those involved in the creation processes would need to obtain some results and, if any, mistake, to have the ability to go back, trace, and understand what got wrong to improve it. Most of those skills are easily trained with experience.
Besides this deck, with the Discussions one, you can also face the challenge to think about a lot of controversial questions and tricky situations where a quick mind is required. This could be an entertaining way to train your soft skills and improve your team’s workflow in the future.
Engage team members by communicating your team vision
Unfortunately, the past tells us that effective communication is an area where most leaders struggle. A 2020 report shares some astonishing statistics.
- 60% of companies don’t have a long-term strategy for their internal communications.
- 72% of employees don’t have a full understanding of the company’s strategy.
- Only 23% of executives say that their companies are excellent at aligning employees’ goals with corporate purposes.
Whether you are a manager or just want to work with a more synchronised and supportive team, you need first to explain your vision honestly and clearly. This is what we call to lead with integrity and honesty.
By doing that, you can inspire others, and you can find people with similar perspectives. You show others that free communication is the key to good collaboration and understanding. You make the first step into unifying people as a team, creating a shared team vision statement.
Hot Take: You must translate your vision into words that connect.
To have shared values, goals, and vision, your team members should build a relationship around which to align their personal values to the team’s ones. Therefore, proactive meetings or focus groups for discussions can foster such conversations. When team members can get to know each other, the communication starts to go more smoothly and naturally. Hence, they could share more about their self-fulfilling needs.
Allow your teammates to express their common team vision
Once you have shared your personal vision, and opened the challenging discussion, ask your peers what they define as meaningful in their professional lives. Ask them what their biggest goal or motivator is to work. You will end up talking about their vision not only in the workplace but also in life.
When team members have the chance to express their vision and contribute to the creation of the bigger one, they take pride in their job. Creating something important, as the vision statement is, makes you instinctively skill up and work more because you feel more responsible.
However, you do not feel responsible for something that is not of your interest and bothers you. You feel responsible for something meaningful for you, and this is why you aim at achieving it.
The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them now
To connect with your team now, you need to start correctly communicating with them. However, this time, you need to go below the surface and understand their needs, hopes, desires, goals, dreams. In general, knowing your people better is what drives team development.
The variety of games you can play as Personal Questions, Illustrations, or Discussions can drive this development even faster. Asking your teammates questions about their opinion on different topics builds a cooperative team environment and foster trust and engagement. All of this leads to higher chances of creating a shared team vision.
Once you have the chance to receive this vital information, you need to appreciate it. How to show your team what you do? The answer is not by including their vision into yours, but rather create one together with them – this is how a shared team vision benefits both sides.
Your team members will be satisfied so that they will hear how their dreams will come true and fulfil their hopes. They will recognise your effort to engage in a common vision. Hence, the successful results at the end of the day would be thanks to your joint contribution. By building something familiar with your peers, you build trust because you show them that you want to work together in the future.
Aligned team – Common Vision – Augmented Results
Each organisational level, being corporate, business, and functional, should be aligned to reach the company’s goals and objectives efficiently and effectively. However, starting from the most specific to the most generalised – if your team’s:
are not aligned to the organisation’s; it becomes quite challenging to fulfil any task at all.
Synchronising your team to the organisation might be a task that can take patience and a tremendous amount of time. However, once you find the right time to gather with your team and successfully incorporate a game into your team development, you will taste success with a more synchronised team.