Of the corporate blind spots shared in The Road to Excellence, “not sharing the vision with those who have to implement it” is one of the most detrimental to the sustained growth of an organization.
To create buy-in with your team (aka “those who will have to implement it”) share your vision in the form of questions instead of statements.
As described in Change the Sandler Way, when a leader shares a change with their team, your vision is a change, approximately 20% of your team will say “Sounds good, boss! Let’s do this,” approximately 20% of your team will say (to themselves) “I’m going to polish my resume” and the remaining 60ish percent of your team will say (to themselves) “Eh, that sounds like another ‘flavor of the month’ initiative. I’m going to wait to see if this one’s actually sustainable before I get onboard or start polishing my resume.”
So if your vision is presented as “By December 31, 2022 we are doing $45 million in revenue with 110 team members in two offices,” you’ve accomplished the “clearly defined objectives” on the Sandler Change Triangle (clearly defined objectives, team acceptance, action plan). However, you’ve reduced your opportunity for team acceptance because statements that don’t align with the recipient’s world view tend to activate their amygdala, which triggers a “fight, freeze or flight” response. This is why personal “affirmations” like “I am a non-smoker” or “I am debt free” tend to fail.
Your vision presented as “Why have we become a $45 million revenue business with 110 team members in two offices by December 31, 2022?” engages your team members higher thinking processes in their pre-frontal cortex and dampens the “fight, freeze or flight” response. This is why personal affirmations like “Why am I a non-smoker?” or “Why does my credit card balance read zero every month?” tend to be more successful in creating change than affirmations.
What you’re seeking from your team is a response starting with “Because we…” to which you ask, “How did we do that?” which is the beginning of creating the “action plan” for implementing your vision. Finally, you’d ask your team “So what do you want me to hold you accountable to?” using David Sandler’s “Rule of 3 Plus” to get to the truth of achieving your vision through those tasked with implementing it.
When sharing your vision through corporate affirmations set a strong Up Front Contract with your team that the purpose of your meeting is to seek answers to your questions not provide reasons why those questions are wrong. Your vision after all is your vision. Whether presented as a statement or a question your company is moving in the direction of your vision, which may cause some of your current team to move on. That’s okay.
By presenting your vision in the form of corporate affirmations you’ll increase buy-in from your team and likely discover that they have better ways of reaching the mountaintops you set than you do.