HIGHER THINKING BLOG

Over-Communicating Your Vision By Dan Cooper

4 Phases of Over-Communicating Your Vision

Have you ever thought, “How can they still not get the vision?”

This is not that blog about the fact that you need a one (you do). This is not that blog about how to write one, or that it needs to be significant and compelling (it does). Let’s assume that you’ve done that well.

It’s what comes after where I see CEO’s and owners of companies struggle.

You’ve done the hard work to come up with the vision, and now it’s time to keep it in front of your team.

Captain Obvious says, “You communicate it.” Duh. What the captain forgets is the mode and frequency of that communication.

Oh yeah, you told them at the annual kickoff meeting, it’s on the wall, and in print on your strategic plan. So, why doesn’t your team get where you are going and why?

You aren’t communicating it often enough.

That’s it.

You need to over-communicate, and by over, I mean you need to be relentless in saying and using your vision to make decisions, talk about good news and accomplishments, bad news and failures, hiring, firing, reviews, and the list goes on and on.

Warning: If you are reading this and feeling like you don’t want to communicate your vision this much, then you have an issue with yourself. You may not be on board with your vision. If you’re not on board, then how can your team be?

We’ve found that there are four phases of accepting your vision.

Here’s how you know when your team understands your why:

They get annoyed.

In the beginning, your team believes that this is just the next “thing” that caught your interest. When you don’t let it go, they will get annoyed. Perhaps some teenage eye rolling will occur and general fidgeting while you “waste” their time with the same story again.

They start making fun of you.

Once your team accepts that this is a real “thing” and it’s not going away, then they’ll start making fun of you – in a good way. They have accepted the message and have moved beyond annoyed and now laugh at and soon with you. Perhaps they hold up four fingers for the number of times you’ve told a particular story. You are gaining traction.

They are with you.

After hearing your vision story for the 18th time, your discussions weave the vision into your executive meetings. No more long expositions. You now nudge, remind, retell, and soft sell in the right places at the right time.

They say it for you.

Finally, you don’t even have to say anything. Team members now tell their own stories and fight the vision fight for you. Congratulations. They “get it.” This is when you will see giant steps taken towards achieving your vision.

Over-communicate the vision, tell a story that helps illustrate it, talk about it. Hire and fire by your vision. Strategize by it, too.

When in doubt. Shout it out.

You’ll get tired talking about it before you team gets tired of hearing it. Don’t let that happen. You must overcommunicate.

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Dan Cooper is co-author of Sharpen: A Guidebook for Business Ownership and Adventures in Leadership. He founded a video-based online training company and was its CEO until selling in 2012. Today, he is the President and partner of Acumen, an engaging community experience built for CEOs and Owners of strong and growing companies.

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