3 Steps to Bridging the Chasm From Vision to Execution

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Many organizations – and individuals as far as that goes – encounter a huge chasm between Vision and Execution. Why is it that despite our best intentions, and sometimes even our best efforts, we so frequently fail to implement our Vision? That is the topic of this month’s blog post as well as the workshop a colleague and I are facilitating in Dallas on November 2. Get more information on the workshop and continue reading to discover 3 steps to building the bridge between Vision and Execution.

Many, if not most, organizations encounter a huge chasm between crafting a Vision for the business and the ability to execute on that Vision. The leaders I work with frequently lament, “If only my staff would do what I need them to do. They just don’t seem to ‘get’ it.” You may have even said something like that yourself. A Kapta Systems survey found that 78% of CEOs were concerned their employees “don’t get it.” According to a report by Kapta Systems, “CEOs know that to achieve long-term success the whole company has to be aligned behind their strategy – but today there’s a major gap here.”

Based on studies by Ernst & Young and Kaplan and Norton as many as 66% of corporate ideas are never executed and 90% of well-planned strategies fail.

Bridging the chasm requires the hands, heads and hearts of people. Rarely is a Vision accomplished in a vacuum. Executing on your Vision requires the buy-in of your staff.

The Work of Leaders program, that I often use to help the organizations I work with bridge the gap from vision to execution, identifies three drivers (and six leadership best practices) of what the program calls Alignment – defined as the process of getting your staff on board with the vision, direction, or outcome you have for the business.

Those three drivers are: Clarity, Dialogue and Inspiration.
Clarity:

Having clarity means you are very clear as the business owner, CEO or leadership team what your desired outcome is. It does not matter if the desired outcome is a capital “V” vision of where you see the company in five years or a small “v” vision of a new supplies ordering process, you must be clear on what you want the outcome to be and why. Then you must communicate (over communicate actually) this desired outcome and why it is important to those who will be responsible for implementing it. You must get the vision out of your head and on to paper so everyone sees the same thing. Here are some keys to communicating with clarity:

  • Look at the situation from the perspective of your employees
  • Explain the reasons and rationale behind the decision: “We are doing this because…”
  • Communicate a consistent message over and over and over again.

Dialogue:

Simply communicating a new direction as a fait accompli will not work. To get alignment you must not only allow but encourage dialogue. Dialogue is a back and forth interchange. It is a discussion that includes the opportunity for those whose support you are seeking to ask questions and put forth their ideas.

Often this is threatening for leaders because they fear that allowing discussion and questions will derail their efforts. Yet in reality it is this opportunity to ask questions and express their ideas that allows people to get on board with and fully support the direction. Best-selling author Patrick Lencioni says, “If people don’t weigh in, they won’t buy in.”

It’s not that people have to have their ideas accepted but they do need to have their ideas heard. In a study done by Inscape Publishing (now a division of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) one of the factors that had the highest correlation with job satisfaction was “a chance to have my opinion heard and considered.” Notice it did not say adopted – just considered.

If after allowing for an exchange of perspectives staff are still reluctant to get on board ask the question: “What would it take for you to get on board and support this? And then really listen to the response. You might end up with something better than you started with.

Inspiration:

Inspiration requires a compelling message. Your message must appeal to the head and heart. It must have both a rational and an emotional component. You want more than buy in at a task level. You want emotional buy in as well – you want engagement. This requires that you paint an exciting picture of the future.

This isn’t enough though. You must also paint a picture of the consequences of continuing down the current track – both for the organization and for the individuals that are part of the organization. Help people see what they can expect if the change occurs and just as importantly, what they can expect if there is no change.

Finally be sure your message speaks to everyone by answering the questions What, Who, How, and Why.

Would you like to bridge the chasm between Vision and Execution in your organization?

I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you and see if The Work of Leaders might be a fit for you and your team. Check our November 2 workshop; call me at 972-701-9311 or email me at jchance@action-strategies.com today. I look forward to chatting with you.

Using leadership team retreats, executive & business coaching, and our five-point performance optimization system, Action-Strategies-By-Design helps organizations of all sizes create:

  • A clear vision & strategy for achieving goals
  • High functioning teams with aligned priorities
  • An engaged culture for improved productivity

For more information or to explore what working together might look like, call Julie Chance at 972-701-9311, email her at jchance@action-strategies.com or visit our website at www.Strategies-by-Design.com.

Want more tips and resources to help you dissolve barriers to business success by unlocking the potential of your people and harnessing the power of teamwork?

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