A shared vision answers the question “What do we want to create”. This question is crucial when you want to set a direction in which you and your team will walk together. I am going to focus today on a team vision, rather than on a company wide vision. Having a vision is a call for our roadmap, and a lookout to the place we want to be in.
Creating a vision
Who should create the vision? One would think it should work top-down, but I think creating a vision is something best done collaboratively with the entire team(s). A vision is a story we want to tell ourselves and the world. Once we collected all the views on the place we want to be in, we should collate it into a clear story and share it with anyone interested.
Sharing the vision
Once you have an agreed upon vision, talk about it, share it, listen to comments about it. This will be the cornerstone of what guides your actions. Since the vision is a guide for you actions, you should check your actions against it, and hold yourself and your teams accountable for it. It is worthless to have a vision and then do nothing to achieve it. You want to be walking on the path you have agreed to walk.
Executing the vision
Now that the vision is in place and everybody knows about it, how do you get there? detailing your vision into roadmap items that are divided into goals that are divided into tasks, that are executed and tracked and measured lead you that way. However, while on the way you might discover you went off the road for some reason, do not continue walking blindly into the woods. Stop, re-calculate your route and get back on a new road. If you don’t set your vision in stone you will be able to be flexible enough to adjust it to reality, this will impact you execution, but for the most part, for better outcomes.
Here is a good example for a vision I admire.
Wikimedia foundation mission statement says:
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.
Can your team have such a great vision?