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7 strategies for communicating vision for change

7 August, 2019
Communicating vision

7 Tips to Help Leaders Engage Employees with Organisational Vision

Regardless of how great your vision statement is, its effectiveness is determined by how well it is communicated. Especially through periods of change, it is crucial to keep the vision front and centre. This responsibility falls on leaders to develop a strategy for communicating vision, and leaders and managers to execute that strategy.

Your vision statement is inspirational. It outlines your ambitions to transform your organisation. You may have explained it to employees through some initial meetings, but this isn’t enough. Communicating vision constantly and consistently is essential. Here are seven tips to help leaders and managers reinforce motivation of employees by communicating vision effectively.

 

1. Keep it simple with storytelling

Storytelling is a highly effective strategy for communicating your vision for change. It helps the listener understand, and when stories help connect employees with the present state and the future vision, storytelling invokes the emotional attachment needed to engender employee engagement.

Good stories help to develop trust, solicit feedback and serve to reinforce the vision. Keep stories simple to avoid confusion. A good vision story should be able to be told in five minutes or less.

 

2. Be authentic

Authenticity in leadership is built in an environment of trust and transparency, in which leaders example accountability and responsibility. This encourages people to discuss their concerns and issues, enables the leader or manager to allay fears and take action to show that the organisation values its people and the contribution they make toward achieving the vision.

No change initiative ever runs smoothly. Authenticity of leadership, where leaders are honest when things go wrong, follow through on their promises and act consistently in line with organisational values and beliefs, builds the trust necessary to overcome hurdles through periods of change.

 

3. Communicating vision through multiple channels

Communicating vision must become habitual and must be executed before, during and after the change. It must also be communicated appropriately. This means using multiple communication channels appropriately, for both the audience and the type of information that must be shared.

The strategy employed when communicating vision for change is likely to include group presentations, team meetings and one-to-ones, as well as newsletters, intranet, notice boards and informal conversations. Whichever channels are employed, it is crucial to ensure that communicating vision is executed consistently.

 

4. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat…

Repetition empowers familiarity and helps commit to memory. With the same message repeated through multiple channels, the vision starts to gain traction. To ensure that the message remains exciting and inspirational, storytelling techniques can be useful when communicating a vision. Repeating core messages when recognising achievements of individuals and teams that show progress toward the future vision, reinforces desired behaviours.

 

5. Solicit feedback

Only with feedback can leaders know what their people understand and what they don’t. Feedback is critical to ensuring that efforts in communicating the vision have not fallen on deaf ears or been misunderstood and that the vision will not be misrepresented further down the line.

 

6. Act consistently with the vision

It is not enough to communicate vision verbally. Leaders and managers must role model the behaviours that they expect their people to perform. Without this consistency between words and action, credible leadership and the change project will dissipate rapidly, and resistance will grow.

 

7. Map out the path to the vision

To communicate your vision for change effectively, you must do so in a way that connects with a wide range of people with different preferred communication styles. Make your vision memorable by employing metaphors to explain organisational culture and guiding people to the discovery of the vision using visual aids to map a path from the current state to the future vision

 

In summary

Communicating vision effectively is a key leadership quality and crucial during periods of change. Keep the message simple by telling stories to demonstrate benefits, remaining authentic and approachable and helping employees to come to their own understanding which is consistent with the organisation’s vision of the future. By doing this organisations will better engage employees and motivate them to become an integral piece of the change coalition.

Communicating vision effectively will ensure that all your employees can answer the key questions:

  • What is the vision?
  • What is my role in achieving this vision?
  • What are the obstacles preventing me from contributing to the vision?
  • Can I explain the vision and its importance to others?

If your leaders and managers communicate vision well, then employees should be motivated and excited to be part of the journey your organisation has embarked on.

To learn how the Learning Map could help you to improve your organisation’s effectiveness in organisational change management, get in touch with The Big Picture People today.

(To see how putting people in the picture creates a shared vision and helps set a concrete destination, read this case study.)

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