In order to achieve results from others we must communicate what we want. However, how we communicate and what we say can have a profound effect on the reaction we receive. When organizations have problems with communication rarely is it because there is no communication. No, most of the time it poor communication is caused by the message or how the message is delivered. Successful communication starts with a clear message.
An effective leader communicates clearly. However, an outstanding or great leader does more. The outstanding leader does that plus inspires others to want to do the things that are necessary to achieve great outcomes. That leader has a compelling vision and transfers that inspiration to others. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great,” highlights what he terms Level Five Leadership. He says that a great leader is able to get the right people on the bus. Is your vision clear enough to convince your team to come with you on your bus?
What does it really take to get your team to ride with you on your bus? In a real bus trip there might be some people that don’t like riding on the bus and want to follow behind in their own cars. Fine you say we will see you at our destination. What usually happens then? The bus gets to the destination and the cars arrive late or not at all. Your job, in the analogy of bus driver, is to get your team, your staff, and your employees to get on the bus and arrive together.
Just as in the bus analogy telling your team where you are going is simply not enough. There is always disagreement such as what route to take. In your company, in your department do you and your people know exactly where you are trying to go? And how should they know? One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to shape and communicate the vision to everyone in the organization.
Here are six key elements to create and communicate a vision. And get your people on the same bus.
1. Keep it simple. Eliminate trite expressions, techno-gobble, or jargon.
Example: We are going to become faster than anyone in our industry in responding to and satisfying customer needs.
2. Use metaphors, analogies and examples. Paint verbal pictures so people can picture and vis. Utilize big and small meetings, memos, articles, as well as formal and informal interactions.
4. Incorporate repetition. Spaced repetition helps people internalize.
5. Lead by example. Behavior must be consistent with the vision since we believe what we see more than what we hear.
6. Give and take. Two-way communication is always more powerful than one-way communication. Listen and be listened to. By listening, you may find out about a better route, a short cut on your journey.