Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

The Power of a Vision...A Leader’s Journey

We are living in "interesting times" and these interesting times have brought about a major shift in the values and priorities of today's work force. The unrest in the world and the uncertainty of job security has caused many employees to re-assess their dedication to their jobs. Loyalty to the company has been replaced by the need for stronger ties with family and friends. Managers and supervisors are dealing with the challenge of getting commitment from their employees and helping them feel meaning and purpose in belonging to the company. Motivating employees to buy into the corporate vision, especially during organizational change, would be a good first step in that direction.

Being a leader in business today requires the ability to implement two styles of management. These two styles, used during different stages of organizational change, are the visionary and the coach. These management styles are far removed from the structured and formal hierarchical style previously implemented in business and are much more appropriate for today's work force.

The visionary has the challenge of formulating and articulating a corporate vision that employees can buy into and work towards. What drives this is the conviction, passion and enthusiasm the leader has in both the formulation and articulation of this vision. When change is rampant in an organization, and people feel their sense of control and security being taken away, why should they stay? What is in it for them in the long run? That is where the visionary comes in. The visionary can aim big and bring everyone along for the journey, making each person responsible for his or her part in seeing that the vision becomes a reality.

One of the most important facets of a vision is the power it has to unify people to strive towards a common goal. When a corporate vision becomes more important than an individual’s personal agenda, we rise above the “turf” issues and power struggles that can happen at work. Especially during times of organizational change, it is crucial that everyone has a “shared vision” of what the organization seeks to accomplish, and what his or her part is in it. You may choose a Vision Statement similar to the following:


We are the provider of choice for our products and services. Customer service is our highest priority, and we are responsive, effective and innovative in meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations. Our team is knowledgeable, flexible, and accountable for our performance. We value those we serve and treat our customers and each other with respect and courtesy. We build relationships based on trust.

This is a simple vision statement that everyone can understand and buy into. You can change it to reflect your organization and the corporate values that are most important to you. The following is a very specific, very powerful strategy to use to get buy-in from your employees and make them accountable for your vision. However, this strategy will work only if it is followed exactly as presented in this article.

15-minute vision meeting:

Let’s say hypothetically every Friday morning you and your staff meet from 9:00 till 9:15. Every Friday you meet at the same time, in the same room, everyone takes the same seat, and you always ask the same two questions of your staff:

1. What did you do that brought us closer to our vision?

2. What obstacles did you encounter that prevented you from getting us closer to our vision?

That is it! Those two questions never change; they are the same two questions asked week after week, always on the same day (Friday) same time (9:00 to 9:15) in the same room with everyone sitting in the same seat. The power of this strategy lies in the fact that nothing changes. It takes about three months for your employees to build a “vision mentality,” but after three months that Friday meeting is imbedded in their routine. So now it is Wednesday, and one of your employees is thinking “Oh boy, it’s two days I’m going to be asked those same two questions again, I had better come up with something to bring us closer to the vision.” You will be amazed at what that employee will give you.

Give your employees accountability and encourage their willingness to give you ideas to support your vision, and you will have employees that will be committed to your vision and your organization.

Barbara Mintzer Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved

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