You are very excited about your vision for the future of your organization. You have some great ideas! And you want to get people “on board.”
What should you do?
First, slow down a bit. I know that you are fired up about your ideas, but you need to get others involved early on. It will make the vision even better and people will own what they help to create.
Invite others to participate in creating the vision. I know that you have specific ideas, but share them only in broad strokes. Examples:
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could build the most (beautiful, unique, impactful, educational, choose your own terms) organization that makes a huge difference in the world?”
“What inspires you when I suggest this? What would you want it to look like and be like if we could really have it any way we wanted it? Dream big with me!”
Then sit back and listen. Let people brainstorm together in small groups (even easier with large groups in our zoom era). Collect and review their ideas.
Important: Don’t be attached to the details of what you had in your own mind. Otherwise you will be unable to truly listen to what others suggest.
Invite a few other people to join you in looking over the ideas from the small groups and create themes of what you heard. Then fashion this into a description of your organization’s vision for the future (not YOUR vision for the future).
You may be thinking “Wait, I am the leader, I am supposed to figure out the vision.” That is old thinking. You are the leader and that means you are the facilitator of joint visioning and the communicator of it. This is a much cooler job than having to figure out everything yourself.
Leadership experts Kouzes & Posner wrote a few years ago:
“Constituents want visions of the future that reflect their own aspirations. They want to hear how their dreams will come true and their hopes will be fulfilled . . . The only visions that take hold are shared visions . . . And you will create them only when you listen very, very closely to others, appreciate their hopes, and attend to their needs.”*
Dream. Facilitate. Listen. And then communicate the shared vision with your team. They won’t “buy in.” They will “co-own” – which is much more powerful.
*Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. “To Lead, Create a Shared Vision,” Harvard Business Review, January, 2009.