Part Five – Creating Your Collective Team Vision

Team Vision. Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Following on from my last post, you now have all the raw information needed to create your vision. Your team members have interviewed the people you are serving and gathered inputs representing their cares. These represent what they care most about. Now you have a lot of information, it is easy to get overwhelmed. A common problem is trying to create a vision that represents all of the cares your team has gathered. If you do this, your vision will be scattered and lack clarity. Your vision should focus on what is most important, not add more distractions to an already distracted world.

You will create your vision in a collaborative session or series of them with your team. Here are the key steps:

Step 1 – Dump and Clump

In this step, ask your team to translate all of the information gathered onto sticky notes. One note for each distinct care. Add (dump) all of the stickies onto a whiteboard and ask your team to clump them into common themes.

Step 2 – Prioritize

Working with your team, rank the themes from step 1 into an ordinal series, 1-n. I recommend picking no more than the top 2-3 themes to include in your vision.

Step 3 – Drafting

Split your team up into smaller groups, perhaps 2-3 people in each group. Ask each group to create a draft vision based on the themes prioritized in step 2. Each draft vision should include a desired outcome or goal, and a narrative that describes the future vision. In other words, what it will be like when you’ve achieved the vision.

Step 4 – Consolidation

Ask each group to share their draft with the full team, and ask each sub-team to explain their vision. Why they chose what they did, and what is most meaningful about it. Once each group has presented, you are now ready to consolidate these drafts into your vision for the group.

Step 5 – Share and gather feedback

Share your completed draft with your team and the people you are serving. Listen to their initial reactions. Note what resonated and what didn’t. At this stage, don’t try to water down your vision to align with everyone’s feedback. Your focus is how to clarify the vision so everyone understands your intended meaning. This is not a popularity contest. Not everyone will appreciate your vision and that’s ok.

Make any final updates to arrive at your final vision. It won’t be perfect and you will learn more as you make progress towards it. The most important thing now is to stop polishing it and start taking action to achieve it.

If you are interested in learning more about visions and how they are a part of a broader set of leadership skills check out my new book. ‘Do Less, Lead More’ describes my leadership story. How I reached the limit of my leadership style and learned a new one that opened a whole new set of opportunities. The book describes 8 steps you can take to scale your leadership, and avoid the challenges most leaders face as they advance their career.