Why We Sometimes Mess Up the “Vision Thing”

Pick up any book on business and you’ll read about the importance of having a Vision for your company, your team, or your project. What better future are you working towards? 

Vision is a prerequisite for effective leadership. No doubt. 

But still, many of us kinda get it wrong…


Because we assume our team knows what’s in our head. 

Tunnel Vision?

To be clear, it’s not that we don’t have a vision of the future. We do right? (Most of us nodding Yes)

But can our team paint it as if it were their own? (Most of us nodding No)  

Paradoxically, the more visionary, evolutionary, or revolutionary a leader you are, the harder communicating your vision becomes. 

You’re looking 1 year, 3 years, 10 years into the future while you’re team is silently confused on what’s most important to accomplish this week. 

A Tale of Two Sides

I’ve been there…on both sides. 

In one role, I came right in and said we’re going to rip out this system, put in this other system, spend a lot of money, and this new technology is going to make us more competitive in the market so we win more deals. 

Thankfully at the time I only had 1 guy on my team and the plan was mostly his idea. We both assumed we knew what was in each other’s heads and got lucky. It was a bad habit I didn’t know I’d learned until I was on the other end. 

The next time I wasn’t the top guy on the team. We had a strategy so we assembled a team and got to work…in different directions. Like wandering on an island, 3 months later we were back where we started. 

And it wasn’t a talent thing…the team was really talented. 

Then what was it? 

Most of the vision was in the leader’s head. Like shining a flashlight in a dark room, we only saw glimpses. 

Any of these scenarios feel familiar? 

What if you could communicate your vision better than 97% of your peers? 

2 Steps To Communicate Your Vision Like a Pro

Step 1: Get Really…Really Clear

“Where are you going? Vacation. 

No, where are you going? Vacation.

Right, got that. But where are you going?? V-a-c-ation.” 

This is an excerpt from Simon Sinek’s latest hit The Infinite Game. 

You aren’t just going on vacation. You are going to Tampa Bay, Florida. You’ll be gone for 5 days. You’re staying at a Marriott Courtyard 3 blocks from the beach. You’re flying into Tampa Intl. Not sure if we’ll rent a car or take an Uber yet. I will need your help figuring the best option, but the car has to have a large trunk for my golf clubs…you get the point. 

Vision doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to be really clear. Clear on the parts you know, and clear on the parts you don’t. Especially the parts you don’t. 

Step 2: Actually Communicate It 

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” – Samuel Johnson

Answer these 6 questions. Share with your team and you just communicated a cleaner, more clear vision than 97% of your peers. Put it on a slide, or a T-shirt. Refer to it or wear it often. 

  1. What are we building?
  2. Who is it for?
  3. Why are we doing this? 
  4. When will we be finished?
  5. Where are the biggest challenges?
  6. How are we going to measure success? 

Will you try this out on your next team call? I hope you do. Drop me a line and let me know how it goes. 

Published by brianhquinn

I write a weekly post to help you grow professionally, elevate your career and Become an "A" Player.