Great TEAMs Hold a Generous Vision 

It is time to talk TEAM with Susan Leahy MA CSP and Freeman Michaels MA, the co-founders of Group To TEAM Leadership Solutions. This video is about the importance of having a generous vision to inspire and direct your team’s focus and attention.

Having a team vision is so powerful because it provides a “common cause” that everyone on the team is “vested” in. When we talk about vision, we are not just talking about goals, we are talking about a quality of experience that everyone on the team is committed to generating and sustaining. Great teams utilize a quality-based vision to create a context for their actions, behavior and attitude. This type of vision inspires commitment and recommitment to clearly stated shared interests. 

Again, the key to developing a quality-based vision is to move beyond goals. When developing this type of vision, it’s important to consider the quality of experience that you want to have while you are accomplishing your goals. You also want to determine what your goal is truly expressing. Here are some questions that can support you in developing this type of vision:
• What do you want to think or feel as a member of this TEAM?
• What is the quality of connection between members of the team that you want to foster and maintain?
• What larger sense of purpose can you all rally around? (Think in terms of a contribution to the community or society in general.)
• What are your goals an expression of – what is the intention behind them?
• What are the core values of your team?
• What are some fundamental agreements that everyone on the team can commit to?

It is important to recognize why most company or team visions aren’t as effective. Often when we try to create a vision we think in outcomes. The outcomes that we are focusing on are inherently “short-sighted” – because they are “set” in the frame of mind and the frame of reference that we are in at the moment we come up with them, rather than being dynamic (growing and expanding over time). The outcome we can see today may be irrelevant in the future. We also tend to only focus on a limited number of possible outcomes; ignoring the outcomes we cannot imagine in the moment we are developing the vision.

When organizations think only in terms of outcome, it is not only limiting, it can be dehumanizing. It makes the outcome more important then the quality of the work, or the people doing the work. A dangerous mindset, commonly referred to by the saying: “the ends justify the means”, can begin to form. Outcome driven visions often objectify not only employees, but other stakeholders as well, including customers. Achieving an external result (e.g. making the numbers) can become obsessive, loosing sight of ramifications and straying from the original intention that was behind the goal.

With a quality-based vision, we want to get people rooted in a deeper sense of both individual purpose and shared purpose. “Groups” can organize around driving a particular result, but often achieve the result at a cost. “Teams”, organized around a shared set of values and a common cause, often “surpassing” the initially imagined results. When the vision is quality-based and relationship-driven, possibilities begin to arise that weren’t available when the team initially sat down to “set” a course for the future. 

The principle of developing a quality-based vision applies to every area of life. For example, here are some questions to consider for other domains of your life:
• What do I want to think or feel in my marriage?
• What do I want to think or feel in my relationship with my boss?
• What do I want to think or feel when I am with my children?
• What do I want to think or feel when I am with my co-workers?

Having a vision spells out what you want to think or feel in relationship with the important people in your life. You can form a vision by getting together with an important person and inviting them to express how they want to think or feel in the relationship. You can offer the quality that you want to create. Together you can form an agreement about the quality of relationship you are both committed to creating. Then, by reminding each other of the intention, you will find that your actions, attitude and behavior naturally change. Simply put, you are either acting in alignment with the vision, or you are not – if you are not acting in alignment with the vision and you are committed to the vision then you must shift your behavior, attitude and/or actions.