In this fourth part of the series about creating a vision, I’m going to focus on the conversations to create a vision. So far I’ve talked about what a vision is, why it is important and who it is for. Following up from part three, you’ve identified who your vision is for. Now you need to speak with these people to uncover what is important to them. Notice I didn’t say ask them what your vision should be.
High Quality Conversations
Your job is to elicit what is important to them so you can craft a vision that connects to what they care about. Why? Because your role as a leader is to declare a vision that others commit to achieve. To do that, your vision needs to align with the cares of the people you are serving. These are the people who will commit to achieve it with you. So how do you do this?
Like a good coaching conversation, this one should be centered around powerful questions. These are questions that truly elicit what is important to the people you are serving. When done well, you will uncover things they weren’t even aware of. Here are some questions to get you started.
- What are you most excited about?
- What achievement from the past year are you most proud of?
- What are your biggest concerns right now?
- What is the most impactful thing we have done this year?
- What is most important to you about this?
- What else?
- What is missing?
Probing questions help you uncover their deeper cares. A good probing question causes the person to pause and have to think. You probably noticed the absence of questions about the future. That’s because you will create a picture of the future and you don’t want to be biased. I highly recommend engaging your team to interview representatives of the people you are serving. Take the time to explain what good conversations look like and highlight the importance of not asking for a vision of the future. Ask each team member to document their answers. You will use them in the next step to start to arrive at your collective team vision.
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.