In my previous post, I referred to Pastor Sam Adeyemi saying that “what I see and hear consistently, over and over, will change my heart”. It is no coincidence that John Kotter’s shares a similar view: “without credible communication, and a lot of it, the hearts and minds of the troops are never captured”.
The typical approach to communicating the vision normally includes verbal communication, addressing teams in smaller groups, newsletter articles and placing posters and banners at strategic places.
Typical methods of communicating the vision simply isn’t adequate. Having it clearly and simply defined and being referred to every now and again simply will not be enough.
Kotter speaks of leadership whose actions are in contradiction with the vision. This discredits all communication efforts and cynicism spreads rapidly within the teams. The net result – vision shattered!
The vision should be owned by the leadership and employees to the extent that communicating becomes seamlessly entrenched within the team.
We have seen this all too often within an Energy Leadership Program (ELP) on a client’s site. The senior leadership team of the client are normally on board because they initially approved the program. It is the vision they buy into with the engagement phase of the program. The tiers below at operational level are crucial to the success of the projects. If the operational leaders visibly live the vision, i.e. walk the talk, projects in their area excel. Leaders that don’t – no results!
Picture scenario one, leader X comes to the morning meeting. He/she adds to the agenda a discussion of the team’s new vision. As soon as the item regarding the vision is raised, he/she reads out an email of the vision to the team in a monotone voice, crumples it up and tosses it away – no engagement. What would the impact of this vision be on the team?
Scenario two, leader Y distributed the vision to the team prior to the meeting, asking the team to digest the information and prepare for a constructive discussion for the next morning meeting. At the morning meeting, the leader begins with a discussion on the new vision, providing background and inviting thoughts. The remainder of the meeting is focussed on alignment with the new vision. What would the impact of this vision be on the team?
Kotter speaks of successful transformation executives that continually “check in” with the vision. They use every possible collaborative channel to encourage realignment with the vision. It becomes part of “the way things are done around here, all the time”.
In the next post, I’ll be talking about empowering others to act upon the vision.