The only way your team will know how to take decisive action is if you have defined and enshrined your vision. Dan Heath and Chip Heath wrote about this in Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.
They found the same thing that I have found in my experience, organizations don’t work on what they call “their core priorities”. I have called this vision or passion, but we are talking about the same thing.
This seems really obvious but it is not done because the whirlwind of the day to day fires take over. This leads to generations of team members losing sight of why the organization was created in the first place.
The Heath’s give two reasons for not following this basic advice:
1. People rarely establish their priorities until they have to.
The “have to” usually comes when two issues come in direct conflict with each other and the vision of the organization and a decision about priorities must be made. The example in the book was a non-profit that had to decide if their organization was for the benefit of the clients or the volunteers. The clients won and the issue was cleared up quickly.
2. Establishing priorities is not the same as binding yourself to them.
MIT did a series of interviews with managers and asked them about important problems that were facing their organizations. Each manager identified several important problems. When asked how much time they spent in the previous week on those problems, the conclusion was “no manager reported any activity which could be directly associated with the problems he had described.” The Tyranny of the Urgent had crowded out their priorities.
Leaders of organizations must define clearly what the vision is for the future and how each team member has a part in that future.
Define them by writing them down and enshrine them by infusing them into every conversation, form, process, sales pitch and piece of marketing material. Everyone on your team should be able to tell you without hesitation the organization’s vision.