When you work in any type of organization, personalities, group dynamics, organizational culture, and other factors continuously come into play. So when you are in a position of leadership—influencing the thoughts or actions or others—how can you create an effective vision? There are four ways to achieve this:
Accept someone else’s vision. If you work for someone who has already developed the vision, this is an appropriate step. Your role can be to interpret the established vision and organize the implementation.
Declare the vision. This works when you know what you want to happen and how to measure success. You don’t need input from others, because you know exactly what success looks like.
Create the vision with a large group. In this scenario, the vision is decided democratically, with everyone’s opinions taken into account.
Create the vision with individual input. Here, you conduct a series of one-on-one meetings to gather ideas. Then you synthesize and integrate the input to arrive at the vision.
Your natural preference for one approach over another is dictated by your individual strengths. However, your personal preference does not take into account the needs of others. If you organize one-on-one meetings, for example, a team member who thrives on group interaction might become bored. Similarly, a team member who is not prone to speak up in a group situation (the very situation I described in my last blog) may feel unheard if the vision is created through a group meeting. And if you just declare the direction without input from others, you may find that no one is following you.
The trick in successfully creating a vision, then, is not only to understand how you would naturally approach the process, but also to understand the situation’s importance and the personalities in your group. For example, if you declare a vision on something your group has little interest in, declare it and move on. On the other hand, if many people have ideas and establishing a good vision is important, you could hold a combination of group and one-on-one meetings to accommodate everyone’s needs.
Note: This article is the second in a series of articles on leadership. View the first article here.
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