The Full Steam Ahead! Roadmap
This is a “how to” post – for leaders and team members who want to create a shared vision. Over the years I have written blog posts that provide an explanation of each of these steps. This post connects the dots by linking these posts with the steps they support. This is the roadmap for the process I use to create a shared vision that not only inspires, but provides clarity on direction and ongoing guidelines for decision-making.
Step 1: Create a Compelling Team Vision
1) Before you begin, everyone should understand the three elements of a compelling vision and how they are interrelated.
2) As a team, discuss each of the three elements of a compelling vision. Agree on what is essential and capture the key words that clearly convey the ideas that have been agreed upon. Do not finalize the wording.
• First • Discuss and agree on your team’s purpose.
• Second • Identify the values needed to support your team’s purpose.
• Third • Create a picture of what it would look like if you were fulfilling your purpose and living your values consistently.
3) Decide how and when the vision statement will be written. Don’t get trapped into wordsmithing during your meeting. It is easiest for a couple of people to use the notes to write an initial draft after the meeting and then send it to the rest of the team for feedback. Consider these guidelines when writing the vision statement:
Step 2: Honestly Describe the Current Reality
1) Examine your current realities in relation to your vision. Identify what’s working and what’s not, your strengths and weaknesses.
A simple “Force-Field Analysis” can work well in this step as mentioned in Create an Unbalancing Force
2) Develop plans for collecting additional information to verify perceptions.
3) Understand the importance of the creative tension so you can use it to your advantage.
Step 3: Identify Key Strategies and “Structural Integrity” that Support Moving Forward
1) Identify the greatest opportunities to close the gap between your vision and your current reality.
- Look for high-leverage strategic goals – those that will allow you to leapfrog forward toward your vision?
- Include some quick wins – to help you see progress and stay motivated.
2) Create “structural integrity” by ensuring your systems and structures will not derail you as you move forward.
Step 4: Plan for Involvement and Communication
For a vision to become reality, you must pay attention not only to what it says, but to how it’s created, how it’s communicated and how it’s lived.
1) Develop a plan for ongoing communications within the team to coordinate efforts, to provide feedback on your progress and to keep your vision alive. Also discuss how to communicate the results of this meeting with other stakeholders.
2) If this work is being done by a leadership team that wants to bring the vision forward to the rest of the organization, your work during this step is to create a plan for involving others in shaping the vision, identifying the roadblocks and the strategies and goals to close the gap.
You will need to present the vision statement as a draft and ask for feedback. Be open to requests for changes in language that do not change the essence of your vision. However, if there is a pattern of requests for substantive changes, it’s possible you may have missed something important and should revisit the first step. You will also need to have ongoing dialogue throughout the organization about the roadblocks and strategies to move forward.
There are many ways to involve the larger organization in this conversation. Large group technologies make it possible to bring the entire organization or a significant number together for conversation and to make decisions in real-time.
Other more traditional processes can be used, such as holding a series of cross-company meetings, as long as the communication channels remain open so the results of the discussions flow back to the senior leaders, who in turn communicate their responses.
3) As you move toward finalizing your vision, test it against these benchmarks to ensure it is a DRIVING Vision.
4) Have a discussion on the role of leadership. When a vision is understood and owned by all, the role of leadership is to remove roadblocks and provide support – in other words, to serve those who are working to achieve the vision.
Step 5: Make Personal Commitments
Never leave the room without putting yourself in the vision. As soon as you identify your vision, if you believe in it, you must start to live it, behave consistently with it, and model the values.
In this last step, each team member identifies specific goals and actions they will personally take that demonstrate they are living the vision right now, even as they continue to develop the vision and work out the details. When they share their goals, they should also explain what they need from other team members for support. This is one of the most powerful steps in the process.
Note: More information on these concepts and the roadmap can be found in the book Full Steam Ahead! Unleash the Power of Vision by Ken Blanchard and Jesse Lyn Stoner and in the facilitator guide The Full Steam Ahead! Field Guide.