A leader’s vision isn’t worth much if it doesn’t take hold in the organization. And it won’t go far without effective communication. A vision describes some achievement or future state that the organization will accomplish or realize. A vision has to be shared in order to do what it is meant to do: inspire, clarify and focus the work.
“Part of your job as a leader is to generate commitment to your organization’s vision. To do this, you have to communicate the vision in a way that matters to people,” says Talula Cartwright, co-author of Communicating Your Vision (Center for Creative Leadership, 2006). “Communicating a vision is like making a sales pitch,” explains Cartwright. “You want people in the organization to believe the vision and to pass it on to others.” Leaders need to get the word out about the organization’s vision in multiple ways – and keep the message going. Tactics to consider include:
Stories. When you tell a good story, you give life to a vision. The telling of stories creates trust, captures hearts and minds, and serves as a reminder of the vision. Plus, people find it easier to repeat a story than talk about a vision statement.
The elevator speech. Every leader needs to be able to communicate the vision in a clear, brief way. What compelling vision can you describe in the amount of time you have during a typical elevator ride? Be prepared to reinforce the vision in line at the cafeteria, when you visit the customer service department, and even walking through the parking lot at the end of the day.
Multiple media. The more channels of communication you use, the better your chance of creating an organization that “gets” the vision. Use the newest communication technologies, but don’t forget the tangibles: coffee mugs, t-shirts, luggage tags and whatever else you can think of that will keep the message in circulation. (more…)