Articulate a clear vision, show your team why it’s achievable, and then prepare to be amazed by what people can accomplish.
The Power of a Vision
According to Bain Consulting, 95% of employees don’t know their company’s strategy.
Do you know what your company’s mission, vision, and strategy are?
Does your team understand your vision?
When John F. Kennedy challenged America to put a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of the decade, he shared a vision of what we could achieve.
Henry Ford envisioned the assembly line and his team developed it, revolutionizing manufacturing for centuries.
IT leaders, whether they have technical backgrounds or not, must understand what is possible with technology. I’ve coached numerous CEOs on the idea that you don’t need to understand technology, but you better understand what technology can do for your business.
Your success as a CIO starts with understanding what technology can do. Then, you can articulate a vision of how technology will differentiate your business and provide a sustainable competitive advantage.
You may not know how the technology will work. That’s why you have a trusted team of talented leaders and practitioners.
Your vision represents the end zone on the football field. Your vision makes the destination perfectly clear. It’s the first step in aligning your team around a common purpose.
Sure, IT needs to keep the infrastructure running, maintain systems, and service its customers. But the small, day-to-day decisions by each team member should always have the end zone, the destination, the vision in mind.
Rallying the Team
Explaining your vision is only worthwhile if your team believes in it. You must convey your confidence in the team’s ability to execute. Point out previous successes. Give examples of similar challenges that they have risen to. Describe how much more fun it will be to work toward that vision and how much it will mean to the rest of the business. Explain how this work will help their careers.
It’s also a good idea to include key team members in development of the vision. Whether they are IT leaders or staff, establishing ownership is critically important. Brainstorm with your team. Explore what’s possible. And then stretch. Challenge people to achieve a little more than what they believe possible. Get them excited about the vision and let them own it with you.
When your team understands the vision, they will focus their energy and take the necessary steps to drive success. Your job, as the leader, is not necessarily to understand the technology but, rather, to understand – and communicate a vision of – how technology will drive success for the company.
We’ll see in upcoming articles how you can reinforce the vision with a clear strategy, effective delegation, measuring results along the way, coaching your team, and frequent communication.
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many of our readers and encourage you to continue to reach out. Email Emily@WolffStrategy.com and she’ll be happy to schedule a call with me.
Larry Wolff is the founder & CEO of Wolff Strategy Partners, a boutique consulting firm specializing in Enterprise Strategy Management and Digital Transformation. Larry has served as CEO, COO, CIO, CTO, chief digital officer, and management consultant for public, private, international, and emerging growth companies. His specialties include corporate and IT strategic planning, technology led business transformation, business and IT turnarounds, merger integration and large-scale project rescues. His methodologies span industries and scale to companies of all sizes.
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