I discussed in a previous post about the need for leaders to make their vision sticky by keeping it simple. This is crucial when sharing the vision with large audiences. Leaders should not tire of sharing their vision. It is not a one off activity or simply reserved for special occasions. People need to be reminded where they are going. The vision is a future event. It is the metaphorical ‘there’. It is very easy to take your eye off the vision and get comfortable with the success of the ‘now’. It is the leader’s responsibility to keep his team’s focus on getting ‘there’.
It is very easy for leaders to assume that their people buy into the vision because they have shared it with them several times. They work on the premise that repetition is a key ingredient of learning. However, it is true that the more people are exposed to something, the easier it is for them to take it for granted because they are so familiar with it. Larry Osborne in his book, Sticky Teams, discusses how important it is for leaders never to confuse familiarity with understanding.
A key goal of vision casting is understanding or comprehension, not just mere familiarity. Familiarity in this context means knowing about the vision – having adequate information about it. Understanding is all about comprehension of the purpose of the vision. Leaders should always be seeking out ways to enable their people transition from just knowledge about the vision (information) to comprehension of the vision.
Leaders should strive to share the vision in new and fresh ways so that their people don’t get too familiar with it. This is the danger of repetition without innovation. Just because people can recite the organization’s vision statement does not mean that they comprehend or understand it. Clear communication and articulation of the vision by the leader helps the team understand the vision. In addition to this, leaders need to constantly solicit feedback from the team to ensure that their communication of the vision is clearly understood.