Many leaders assume that everyone understands their vision. Often there is a big gap between their vision and what the people they lead perceive. Unfortunately, many leaders don’t take the time to actually find out how well they have expressed it to their team.
When the vision is uncertain, people tend to default to doing whatever vision seems best to them. In a medium sized organization, I heard one of the vice presidents gave his opinion on a branding issue and then casually mentioned how it aligned with the vision. However, the vision he articulated was very different from the CEO’s vision. I’m sure the CEO thought he had communicated the vision clearly, but the test of a well-communicated vision is whether or not the people responsible for implementing the vision correctly understand it.
A very simple way to test your organization’s vision alignment is ask people to write down the vision anonymously in a short paragraph. Keeping it anonymous helps people concentrate more on articulating the vision and less on worrying about getting it wrong. Once you get the feedback, read over each and every vision statement.
If everyone comes back and states the vision exactly as you feel you’ve communicated it, consider yourself fortunate. Most of the time this will not be the case. You will probably discover that what people see as the vision is not what you thought you communicated. By taking this information and attempting to discover the sources of the miscommunication, you can prepare yourself to better communicate your vision in the future
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