This verse has always been a help to me regarding vision: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets so he may run who reads it.” ~ Habakkuk 2:3.
It’s too common for leaders to have their vision in their heads, but not in writing. Ron Edmondson shares how he has learned to share the vision he carries around in his head.
Guest Post by Ron Edmondson
The Challenge for me as a senior leader is to regularly communicate the big picture vision I have in my head.
Of course, the idea behind those cute, well-worded statements is to communicate vision and mission. Yet, those are usually very broad statements. They can be lofty and aspirational even. And they should be. They will often last a long time.
I am referring to the dreams I am currently dreaming. There are often specific goals and objectives I think we should currently be attempting as an organization.
I know I need to share what I’m thinking for people who can’t read my mind. It is hard for those we lead to get inside our head, but so important they understand what we are thinking if we want to lead well. If we want to earn and keep trust and credibility in our leadership, then we must make sure people understand our current visions.
In fairness, they are thinking about their own individual responsibilities. Their role may not be to think for the entire organization. That’s usually the role of senior leaders.
How I try to share the current vision in my head:
Sharing my heart for the personal vision I have requires more intentionality in communication. Many leaders assume others are following. It isn’t until people don’t accomplish what the leader hopes they will that they realize the people trying to follow never fully understood what a leader was expecting.
This is a work in progress for me, and always more difficult in a new position, but here are some ways I try to communicate my personal vision as a senior leader:
- Communicate regularly – I want our team to hear from me regularly what I’m thinking.
- Keep notes to myself of what needs communicating. Thoughts run rampant at times – so I have to write them down or I’ll forget to share them next time the team is together.
- Utilize different communication styles for different listening types. I do a lot of one on ones, usually drop-in/walking the hall meetings. Some engage me better that way. I also write a lot of emails. Some need to “read it”.
- Use understandable language – and explain when it is not. I also like to draw a lot of diagrams to flesh out my ideas in front of people. This is especially true when I’ve been studying an issue they have not been.
- Do not assume others know what I am talking about – they may not.
- Speak openly and transparently. I’ll tell them if it’s just something I’m “thinking about” and I love to call everything we try an “experiment”.
- Allow people the freedom to ask me anything they want. I allow lots of feedback and even pushback on current thoughts.
And the greatest suggestion I have – Ask lots of questions of others! Make sure people understand what you are saying.
Does anyone else struggle with this challenge? What suggestions do you have for a leader sharing the current vision in their head with the team?