Creating a vision

You’re excited, you’ve just got the go ahead to hire lots of people and build teams. In what direction will you go? how will you structure it? Who will you hire and what for? Setting a vision is a key step.

Borrowing someone else’s vision vs creating your own..

I’m sure you’ve been in a situation where you’ve heard an exec say “I want us to be just like <revered company x>”. I think its great to be inspired by others and does influence a “can do” attitude since everyone knows it has been done before, however the downside is that it ultimately can discount possible outcomes that only your staff can imagine, and you can sell yourself and your company short. Creating your own vision allows the intricacies of your company to be a factor in what you create, both for good and for bad. It allows for targeted outcomes to resolve long held historical pain, or even revolutionary thought and ideas that can spread like wildfire that only original ideas can.

Coming up with an original vision is difficult and some leaders do this naturally, some need to be taught through trial and error. Some opt to use others directions as a response to having failed before.

How do you go about creating it..

Just creating your own vision isn’t enough though- it is how you go about creating it. Some leaders form an elite senior leadership team (usually made up of trusted friends) and hand them the problem to solve. Others share a vision with their teams and ask them to workshop it and come up with their own. Others don’t come up with a vision at all- and ask their teams to come up with one.
One is a top down approach, one I’d call a hybrid, one is bottom up. I find these to be important distinctions as they cause significantly different reactions in the teams as well as attract different personalities.

People

Top down basically educates the entire team that the only way to be listened to is to be “made” a member of the senior leadership team because it the only way you’ll be able to influence the direction. The Hybrid approach provides a forum for input and changes in direction and creates a culture of vision ownership. Bottom up on the other hand, provides empowerment to the staff but can often lead to the leadership team having less buy in or even a feeling of servitude to the teams.

There’s a lot in there, one might even argue the real problem is: top down vs bottom up, however what I’m working towards is that top down and bottom up are decisions that come in response to the vision of where you want to be and how you want to get there. How you deal with the vision plays a big part in how the company will be run while it is decided and indeed after.

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