Including your leadership team when crafting a new vision gives you the opportunity to create a vision that everyone can relate to – you don’t want to look like you came down from Mount Sinai with your own vision inscribed on stone tablets. Your employees won’t buy in. They’ll see the whole vision as something you created in a vacuum.
Another idea to consider is that your vision has to have boundaries; you’re not talking pie in the sky. Ultimately, the vision you present has to be something that is far enough in the future to generate excitement, but not so outlandish that everyone at the meeting table has to hide a smile or roll their eyes.
Consider the car industry. When the CEO of Chevrolet or Ford presents a vision for the future, it’s a good bet that subjects such as better performing hybrid cars were discussed. On the other hand, if the CEO had uncovered a drawing of a flying SUV that ran on water, the meeting has progressed from one of visioneering to science fiction.
Creating the vision takes a great deal of effort and collaboration, and as the leader you’re going to have to be the straw that stirs the drink. One of the most useful tools you have is to ask questions that cause your team to review their current reality, and look far enough down the road to paint a clear picture of the future. I’ve listed a handful of them to get you started.
- How do you see your job changing?
- Who is affected by your product or service at this point in the future?
- What are your customers doing differently?
- How has your product or service changed?
- What new regulatory or market issues do you face?
As you can see, these are straightforward questions, but they’ll help your company officers and leaders think about how the changing world and how those changes will look 10 or 20 years in the future.
After you’ve answered the questions, it’s a great idea to encourage discussion among all of the company officers, managers and several standout employees. This mix will provide you with fresh perspectives and ideas from a variety of different levels – it’s easier to paint a house with the help of a team rather than doing it all by yourself!
Visioneering means taking a leap of faith, and it requires that the leader of a company have one foot in reality and another taking a step into the future. By asking the right questions, gathering information and insights from a cross section of employees, and making sure you’re not looking too far down the road, you’ll establish a vision that excites and challenges everyone in your company.