Setting a vision to give direction?

Helpful to have a list of what makes a “great vision”?

How many of the 10 boxes does your vision tick?

Here, red10‘s Will Sudworth gathers research-based expertise into ten criteria you can either ‘tick’ as covered, or use to help you further refine your organisational vision.

Conditions for Success

You could fill library after library with all the research and leadership books encouraging leaders to create a shared compelling vision.

It has always been one of red10‘s 9-Dimensions, our research-based framework helping leaders to create the conditions for their teams and organizations to thrive.

This is because having a compelling vision increases the chances of:

  • Moving in the same direction – providing a ‘North Star’ that helps everyone navigate.
  • Individuals and teams consistently making purposeful decisions, like the question constantly asked by the UK Olympic rowing squad Will it make the boat go faster?

The chances are that you already have a vision in your head, most probably it’s already shared amongst many of you and set out in a slide, which leads us to straight to this question: what does a great vision look like?

10 Criteria to Confirm or Challenge

As a helpful tool for coaching leaders and teams, we’ve pulled together the advice of two leadership gurus on “what makes a great vision?”, together with our own experience, to create a set of 10 boxes that you can either ‘tick’ as covered, or use to challenge and refine your thinking.

The First 5 – From Hackman

The first set of boxes comes from the late Professor J. Richard Hackman – a pioneer in conditions-based coaching and a world-leading expert in organisational behaviour.

Published in his book Leading Teams, they are:

  • Unique – Is your vision something that only you can do, that will only happen if you do it?

  • Challenging – Does your vision require ambition, determination and persistence?

  • Clear – Is your vision easily understandable? Would it pass the “kitchen table test”, i.e. you can explain it over the kitchen table to your partner?

  • Concise – Is your vision stated in as few words as is possible whilst preserving its meaning?

  • Consequential – Is your vision impactful, worthwhile and meaningful?

The Second 2 – From Daniel Goleman

The second set of boxes come from the world-leading pioneer in Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman. Goleman’s work on Primal Leadership encourages us to find our personal blend of six leadership styles, including Visionary Leadership.

The two key boxes here are:

  • Paints the picture – does your vision enable others to visualize what the future will look like?

  • Metric to hang your hat on – Does your vision provide a concrete and tangible number to aim for?

The Last 3 – From Our Experience in red10

The final set of boxes come from our experience in red10

  • Aligned – Does your vision refer to or fit under the stated ambitions of your parent organization(s)?

  • Memorable – Is there a metaphor (e.g. tight ship) or an acronym, (e.g. NEED – Nine months quicker, efficient. Effective. Delivering)?

  • Good Feedback – Does your vision resonate for the people you are leading and also for the leaders sponsoring your part of the organization?

How Many Boxes Can You Tick?

The 10 boxes can be used to facilitate groups of people working on a vision as it allows them to start with the end in mind, as the late Stephen Covey used to say.

How could these 10 boxes help you?