When I start a new consulting engagement I meet with the team members and ask them to tell me about their vision. What I usually hear is a variety of explanations that are somewhat aligned and also somewhat different. They typically have generic elements in common but you can’t be sure they are talking about the same vision.
When the leadership team doesn’t have an aligned understanding of the vision, the organization doesn’t have either. If we don’t know where we are going, we’ll end up somewhere, but most likely not the place we intended.
Leaders often spend many hours picking exactly the right words to clarify the vision. The leadership team excitedly shares the vision, only to find out the rest of the organization don’t get it. It is frustrating. They weren’t in the working sessions and don’t understand exactly what each word means. Some leaders try to counter this by inviting everyone to take part in crafting the vision. This doesn’t work either. It leads to a watered down statement that loses all its meaning because it tries to please everyone.
How to explain your vision so everyone understands it
The GOST model can help every leader explain their vision so everyone understands it in the same way. Let’s start with a quick primer of the elements GOST Model. It translates the vision into:
- Goals: What outcome(s) are we seeking?
- Strategies: What do we have to do at a high level to achieve the goal(s)?
- Objectives: How will we know if our strategies are leading to success?
- Tactics: What do we have to do on a day to day basis to fulfill the strategies?
These elements provide the perfect framework for communicating our vision. To do this start with the vision and describe achievement of the vision in terms of your goals. Next, outline the strategies you will follow to achieve the goals and how we will measure our progress using the objectives. Finally, explain how the day to day tactics align and support the strategies.
By doing this, you have explained where we are going, and how we will get there. You’ve described how we will know we are on track, and how the detailed work enables the completion of our goals and ultimately the vision. When everyone can translate the vision into desired outcomes and know what is required to get there you have built a solid foundation for success.