Seven Actions You Can Take to Help Inspire a Shared Vision

Seven Actions You Can Take to Help Inspire a Shared Vision

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The main skill that differentiates a leader from the rest of those in the organization is the ability to create and communicate an inspiring vision. By definition, leaders are those who are out in front and, therefore, need to know where they are going. But having a vision is not enough, as we learn in The Leadership Challenge®, “only a shared vision has magnetic power to sustain commitment over time.”

As important as this is, it is one of the most elusive behaviors for leaders. In fact, of the 35 years authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have been studying LPI® data, Inspire a Shared Vision has consistently been the lowest-ranked Practice. And yet, of all The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®, this is the Practice that can make the biggest impact in becoming an exemplary leader. Research has shown that those who are highly rated on this item have constituents that are 25% more engaged in their workplaces.

Becoming the very best leader we can be means that we must constantly challenge ourselves and devote ourselves to deliberate practice. Whether working with others or fine-tuning your own skill-set to Inspire a Share Vision, here are a few action steps to get started:
  1. Determine your personal vision. Ask yourself: 
  2. a. What drives you as an individual?
    b. What is your passion and is it compelling to you? 

  3. Listen. Listen to those in your organization about what gives them purpose and meaning. 

  4. Collaborate. Involve a cross-functional team in crafting a vision that is more attractive than the present. State it in a way that pulls people forward, projects a clear image of a possible future, and generates the enthusiasm and energy to strive toward the goal. 

  5. Assess the vision. Ask stakeholders: 
  6. a. Did this vision motivate them to join the organization, and does it continue to motivate them once they are there? 
    b. Does this vision provide a beacon for guiding the kinds of adaptation and change required for continual growth? 

  7. Live the vision. Embed the vision into the organization. It can NOT just be a sign on the wall. A great example of how an organization can live its vision is a client I worked with that made a video with various leaders and employees talking about the vision and what it meant to them. The whole company has watched the video as part of an all-employee meeting and it is now part of the onboarding process for new employees. Watch the clip here

  8. Set goals related to the vision. Have a goal-setting process where everyone in the company’s goals and objectives align with the strategy and vision. If someone’s goal doesn’t align, demonstrate leadership courage to help them stop doing things that distract from the vision and strategy. 

  9. Take your vision further. Once the vision is clear and the strategy is set, assess the organization to make sure all aspects, including structure, processes, rewards, and people are aligned and supporting that direction. 
No matter how good we currently are as leaders, we can always be better. So ask yourself what you can do to practice one or more of these seven actions to help develop and refine your skills to Inspire a Shared Vision. If you do, as Kouzes and Posner say, “you can make extraordinary things happen…for yourself, those who follow, and the world.”


Laura Strausberg
, a Certified Facilitator of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop and an LPI® Trained Coach, is CEO of Organizational Development Solutions. Providing organizational development and talent management solutions, she partners with organizations—from small startups to large corporations—to drive high performance by managing change and transformation; and developing talent and leadership. She can be reached at Laura.Strausberg@organizationaldevelopmentsolutions.com

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