Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey

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August 2003
The 15-Minute Vision Meeting

Last month's Newsletter discussed why it is important for leaders and employees alike to have a vision for their organization.  You may have some reasons of your own that were not discussed.  If you would like to share them with me, I am sure your colleagues would benefit from them as well.

In this Newsletter I will give you a Vision Statement that you and your staff can work towards.  You may use this Vision Statement verbatim or customize it for your particular organization.  To ensure buy-in from your staff, you may want to discuss this Vision Statement with them and ask for their input and feedback.  How do they see your organization in two, three or five years from now?

What could they do now to make that happen?  Take the best ideas and incorporate them into the Vision Statement so that everyone is working from a framework of a shared vision and shared values.


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.

VISION STATEMENT  (for healthcare)

We are the hospital of choice in this community.  Patient care is our highest priority, and we are responsive, effective and innovative in meeting and exceeding the expectations of our patients and their families.  Our team is knowledgeable, flexible and accountable for our performance, and we are committed to embracing change.  We value those we serve and treat our patients and each other with respect and compassion.  We build relationships based on trust.

These two Vision Statements reflect values that many organizations hold dear.  If you have values in your organization that are important and that you want followed, add them to your Vision Statement. The important thing is that your Vision Statement have "hooks" that your staff can latch onto and work towards. The above Statements have six hooks:

customer service (patient care) is our highest priority

we are responsive, effective and innovative

we are meeting and exceeding expectations

we are accountable for our performance

we treat each other with respect and courtesy (patients with compassion)

we build relationships based on trust

The following is a powerful strategy to get accountability from your staff for their part in making your Vision a reality.  NOTE:  This strategy will work ONLY if you follow it as I have outlined it here.

The 15-Minute Vision Meeting

Every Friday morning you and your staff meet from 9:00 till 9:15.

You meet at the same time, in the same room, everyone takes the same seat, and you always ask the same two questions of each person in the room:

What did you do that brought us closer to the vision?

What obstacle did you encounter that prevented you from getting us closer to the vision?

That is it!  The power of this strategy lies in the fact that nothing changes.  It takes about three months for your staff to build a "vision mentality."  After three months, that Friday meeting is a part of everyone's routine. You will be amazed at the creative and innovative ideas your staff will come up with.

A few things to remember:

You don't have to do it on Friday; you may choose another day.  However, whatever day you choose, this is the day you must stick to.  Whatever time you choose, whatever room you choose, whatever seat each staff member chooses at the first meeting ... all of these must remain the same week after week. 

"I couldn't find anything to hook onto this week" is not acceptable.  It will set the stage for everyone on the team to walk away from accountability.  If a person did run into a particular obstacle, he/she can state what that was and discuss it with you later. The Vision Meeting is fast; each person should come prepared to state BRIEFLY what he/she did that brought all of you closer to the vision.  The power of this Vision Meeting is that it moves very quickly it does not get bogged down in stories, etc. 

It takes time (at least three months) before you build momentum.  Some of your staff will resent and resist this Vision Meeting at first.  Stick to your guns!  Explain why a vision is so important (review July's Newsletter) and tell them they are now accountable for the Vision.  Once your staff understands the importance of the vision and their part in making it happen, your Vision Meetings will be exciting, productive and rewarding.

I have given you a lot to ponder in this Newsletter.  Don't get overwhelmed, just take one step at a time. I am here to help you.  If you have any questions regarding this Newsletter or the 15-Minute Vision Meeting, let me know.  I will steer you in the right direction.  In September's Newsletter I will answer questions regarding the 15-minute Vision Meeting, and share with you how one new Manager took over a department that was having serious problems and turned it into a model department.  I was very inspired by her story and I think you will be, too.  Have a wonderful month.

About the Author

Barbara Mintzer is an expert who speaks professionally.  With over 30 years in business and health care, she speaks from experience!  Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for conferences and conventions, management retreats and in-house seminars.  She also facilitates panel discussions and roundtables.  To explore the possibility of having Barbara work with your leadership team or speak at your next event, please contact her office.

Phone: (805) 964-7546
FAX: (805) 964-9636

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