How to Create a Compelling Team Vision?
Many teams rely on the Company Vision or Mission to pull the team together. That is acceptable for a Mediocre team but it’s not good enough for a High Performance Team that realizes that a Team Vision or Mission is essential as the galvanizing force to propel it into action.
Vision is the first of the eight essential elements of High Team Quotient Teams are represented by the acronym VIVRE FAT, which stands for Vision, Identity, Values, Results, Effective, Fun, Aligned, Trust. Let´s define what Vision is.
I worked with one leader at a pharmaceutical company who wondered if they “had the right” to have a Team Vision. “After all, shouldn’t I be submitting to the Company Vision? Our department primarily executes the Vision and gets results.” He missed the point. “Executing and getting results” is only one aspect of being a High Performance Team. The Company Vision is very general and broad. Knowing exactly where the team is going is essential to being an effective and High Performance Team.
Another common fallacy is thinking that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are all that a team needs, to measure performance. Without a longer-term Vision, teams will be mired in ‘hitting or exceeding short-term targets.’ Overreliance on KPIs creates a short-term focus, which obviates striving for a much bigger aim. It also reinforces the ‘task focus’ that plagues so many teams.
‘Task focus’ shows up in staff meetings, which are reduced to mere reporting, reviewing, and showing, “How great we are at making things happen.” Many of us go through countless presentations about performance against targets. How many times does someone ask, “How are we doing on the things that really matter?” The question is: Has the team defined what really matters in this team?
WHO NEEDS A TEAM VISION, ANYWAY?
Team Vision defines a bigger game beyond the day-to-day ‘production’. It’s about stepping up to play that bigger game. Your team needs to know the rules of the game and how to scope it out in an accurate and compelling fashion.
One of my clients was a team at a European bank responsible for ‘transaction banking.’ It was a medium-sized player, and realized that it couldn’t strive for leadership in all products. This had translated into a “ho-hum” sentiment within the team, feeling that the bank was very ‘average’. After discussion, the breakthrough was the “Vision for Leadership in Selected Products,” which was challenging but within the bank’s grasp. This created the necessary aspirational drive to break them out of their doldrums and coalesce around a worthy goal. Suddenly, the team felt that their existence had meaning. Essentially, the Team Vision gave them purpose, drive, and meaning.
The Team Vision also gave the team clear targets and focus as well as a roadmap for success. Strategy, tactics, and KPIs were then geared towards the selected products as identified in the Vision.
The Vision also became a useful tool for communications. Whenever someone asked what they were working on, team members could clearly cite the Vision and then talk about the targets and focus areas. When they made presentations to other stakeholders, they referred to the Vision, which allowed for more contextually rich and focused discussions. During staff meetings, Vision was very useful in decision making.
The Vision created a much-needed sense of confidence and feeling of reassurance that the team was moving forward rather than ‘just doing their jobs.’ It gave them a reason to go the extra mile and strive for excellence. It reinforced the sense of being a ‘winning team’ as opposed to being just an execution team.
Rather than relying on a Company Vision, a Team Vision is necessary to create the right focus, motivation and direction for all team members. it should be created by the team and for the team. The Team vision is a foundational step to a High Performance Team
Douglas Gerber is Founder and CEO of Focus One, a consulting firm that helps leaders create High Performance Teams. After 23 years as a corporate executive, he developed a reputation for building successful teams. Later, as a consultant, he has personally worked with leaders from over 70 companies to develop their own winning Teams. Drawing from his own extensive background and 10 years of research, Douglas innovated the concept of “Team Quotient” (TQ). He is a thought leader in the area of team transformation. Learn more about Douglas and his upcoming book Team Quotient: How to Build High Performance Leadership Teams that Win Every Time on www.douglasgerber.com