I’m pretty sure that your company has a vision. I’m also fairly certain that if asked, you’d be hard pressed to tell anyone just exactly what that vision is. Although we all basically understand that having a vision is good thing, the whole vision thing has been so badly handled that it’s pretty much a joke in most IT departments. However, if you really want to accomplish things, then you’re going to have to change this…
Just Exactly What Is A Vision?
So we’ve all spent time laughing about our company’s version of a vision; however, what is a vision really supposed to be? For that matter, what are we supposed to do with a vision if we have one?
Unlike a “mission” which is a short-term objective, a “vision” is a longer term picture of a future that could be. A vision needs to be complete: we need to understand how that future would work, what it would look like, what the result of making that future a reality would be.
In order for a vision to work, it must in some way connect with the members of your team’s deep personal needs. These needs can be based on a craving for recognition, success, knowledge, etc.
The reason that as an IT manager you want to create a vision for your team is because if you can do this correctly, then you will have found a way to tap into you team’s true commitment. With a vision that they can believe in, your team will apply all of their creativity and extra energy as they work to turn the vision into reality.
None of us like change – it always seems to require way too much of an effort on our part. If we have a vision that we believe in, then all of a sudden that change does not seem so daunting. A powerful vision is what it takes to get us to stand up and take action in order to make that vision real.
How Can IT Managers Go About Creating A Vision?
Wanting to create a compelling vision is one thing, actually knowing how to go about doing so is a completely different thing. There are a lot of ways to do a poor job of creating a vision and you’ll want to avoid them.
Instead, while creating a vision for your team you’ll want to keep in mind that for a vision to be successful it must connect with your team member’s deeply held personal beliefs. One thing that you must avoid in forming this connection is the use of “buzz words” – needless jargon will cause your vision to be rejected.
Your vision cannot be all about your team. Instead it needs to account for the larger world. Specifically, it needs to consider the needs of your department’s main stakeholders and it needs to clearly state what the benefits for them are.
Finally, the keep it simple rule applies here also. The vision that you develop for your team needs to be very easy to explain to your team. They need to be able to understand it and they need to then be able to explain it to others in a way that they’ll be able to understand.
What All Of This Means For You
Although poorly created and communicated visions have resulted in most IT staff thinking very little of visions and vision statements, it turns out that they really are important. Any IT manager who wants to motivate a team and get the most out of them, needs to create and sell a compelling vision to the team.
In order to create a vision that will stand the test of time, you need to do it correctly. This means that you need to stay away from the buzz words and make sure that the vision that you create touches team members deeply. Keeping it simple will ensure that everyone on the team is able to both remember and share the vision with others.
IT managers who take the time to work with their team and create a vision that everyone can buy into will have created a powerful motivational tool. No longer will the vision be something that gets hung on the wall and forgotten. Instead, it will become a part of everyday life and you’ll find that your team is living the vision that you’ve created for them…
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: How long do you think that a vision should be – one sentence or can it be a full paragraph?
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