Sharing your Vision with your People

by Joseph Fernandez

This, is the best time for you.

As a business leader and decision maker in your company, you will find that the beginning of the calendar year is the best time for you to share your vision, tell your stories and help your people to create your best year yet. Give your people
a sense of purpose by sharing your vision with them.

In my work with business leaders and social change makers since 1990, the one thing that has struck me is the way that they share their vision with the people–
at the beginning of the year. They project pictures of the journey ahead from a high place. They speak of the breathtaking view from summits and prepare them for the valleys they will experience. This experience plays itself out in packed stadiums, video conferences, and hushed town-halls, the world over.

My personal epiphany—a candid moment of realization—dawned on me in Seattle some years ago when I heard one of America’s best loved business leaders transformed his people with a powerful New Year message. It was a much looked forward to event, as it was a difficult year for the global economy and uncertainty gripped the entire company.

On the big day the universe fell silent, as everyone–pioneer employees, mid level managers and fresh faced interns—stopped their work to listen to his recorded message. They hung onto his every word. With every sentence spoken in his slow measured tone, he reassured his team, giving them a great forecast for the year ahead. As the progressed, you could feel the energy build up—charging everyone up. celebrations broke out, as the message ended, with cheers and a loud round of applause. And surprise, surprise, they did have a great year!

The first quarter of the year, I’ve discovered, is the ‘face-time’ they devote to sharing their vision. These vision-sharing moments usually take all of 15 minutes–but they mean the world to your people, who have chosen to trust their futures with you. So, whether you are a CXO, a sales VP or a HR manager, you can use this special time to reconnect with your people and share your vision with them in 5 powerful steps:

–Begin with a heartfelt New Year wish for your people—pick your own unique way to wish them, their loved ones and families a wonderful new year ahead. Thank them for their role in your company’s success. Or, you could thank them for their tenacity in the face of a tough industry year.

–Share your vision for your company from a high place. Begin with the ‘35000 feet’ view of your industry, its global revenue, the year’s milestones and challenges. Now, introduce your company’s strategy, beliefs and journey mindset in the months past. Speak candidly of your company’s summits and the valleys. Focus on your working as a single team working with one focus across many locations. As you close on this, attribute your success to your shared beliefs. Keep your vision focused on the whole company and you will find that it powerfully influences their conversation at the water coolers and cafeterias.

–Speak for your customers and their changing world. Paint a picture of the dynamic industry you work in and the new choices your customers will be confronted with in the months ahead. In your own words, tell them what this New Year will mean to our customers. What new industry trends and technology inflection points can they expect? What did it feel like to be a customer of your company in the year to come? Remind your people of the fact that your customers will always respond to a positive and friendly human experience. Tell them that wherever they are, your people hold the key to building this success.

–Support your communities with your personal commitment. Give your people a sense of purpose by engaging them with your communities in meaningful ways. Remind that that the future of your company is inextricably tied in with the future of your community. Your future customers, employees and leaders will come from your communities. So, nurture them well. One powerful way to drive this home would be to say something like: “So, over the next 12 months, you will see our people teach over 1000 students at our community college over 52 weekends.”

–Close your message by taking your company goals to a launch pad of purpose in the year ahead. Thank your people once more. Tell your people, again in your own unique way, and tell them you look forward to your best year yet as a company. You know you have got this right, as the sincerity of your message resonates with your audience, drawing a loud round of applause and encouraging feedback.

You will notice that I have not asked you to use a presentation or corporate video to share your vision. You do not need it. At best, they are a backdrop for your message. They are not its focus. The best messages ring true, because business leaders and change makers speak directly to the hearts and minds of their audience. Who can help you here? Your communication team or your communication coach can help you create an iconic event in which you share your vision with your people.

So, how do you share your vision with your people? Does the approach shared here hold good for your company? Is there something that you would like to share with us about how company vision is powerfully shared across your organization?

Either way, let me know what you think!