If you ask employees about the direction of your organization, you will likely get lots of blank stares. It’s usually not their job to cast the vision for the organization.
That being said, it is critical that everyone understands exactly where your organization is headed. As you prepare to facilitate this session on organizational vision and direction, try one of these things:
1. Have a member of senior leadership present for this portion of the training session – someone who can speak to the direction of the organization. Or, if your organization has recently had a company-wide meeting where vision and direction were discussed, then you and the participants will be prepared to discuss “direction” without other leadership present.
2. If you haven’t recently discussed direction, and a senior leader can’t be present during the session, schedule time to talk to one before the session. This will help you gain a clear understanding of what they feel the “Direction” statement for the organization should be. You should then be prepared to facilitate this “Direction” session on your own.
If the leader can attend your session, they should share:
– where we’re headed
– what’s already being done to help us get there
– some signs we’re headed in the right direction
Ask this leader to paint the picture of the organization’s future and give this organization energy and momentum. Allow 10-15 minutes for this presentation, and then ask if anyone has any questions for the leader (or you, if you’re presenting this portion).
“Knowing direction is important because everyone wants to feel like they are part of something that is really going somewhere. People want to feel like they are on the ground floor of something that could be big.
It’s also important that you understand the direction of the organization so that you are able to communicate that direction to those you come into contact with (both inside and outside the organization). It will demonstrate your expertise in your industry.”
Hand out the Worksheet.
Any statistic, number, trend or article that will support the organization’s growth and forward movement is essential to be aware of. Encourage participants to dig for this evidence that supports the organization’s stated direction. Ask them to share whatever evidence they can currently think of with the whole group. As people share their responses, ask everyone to write them on their worksheet.
Then, using a whiteboard or flipchart, capture the senior leader’s direction statement (or whatever direction information you were given before the session). Discuss the statement as a group and decide how to incorporate the evidence that supports the organization’s direction (that they’ve just listed on the Worksheet) INTO the direction statement, if applicable.
You may also wish to share this story:
There is an old story about two men cracking granite. A reporter walks up to the first man and asks what he’s doing. “I’m cracking granite,” he said. “Five bucks an hour…now leave me alone.” The reporter walks up to the next man who is doing the exact same thing and asks the same question. “I’m on a team,” the man said, “and we’re building a cathedral.”
These are two men who are doing the exact same thing, but one of them sees the big picture. Encourage your participants to be that guy…the one who not only sees, but can articulate what your organization is going to be.
“Being able to articulate direction sets you apart…it can position you as a forward-thinker and an expert, and certainly lends to your credibility in business.”
Worksheet: Evidence to Support Our Direction Statement
Capture your organization’s direction, as communicated to you by an organizational leader or your facilitator:
Now list any evidence you can think of that supports this directional statement (like data, studies, news,
reports, articles, etc.):
Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide for the CRM Learning training program The Clarity Imperative.
Recommended Training Resource: The Clarity Imperative When employees feel connected to an organization’s purpose and direction — and can clearly explain them to others — they become more engaged in the process and committed. Learn the importance of organizational messaging and how it translates to improved morale.