As a leader, wouldn’t you like to have a team that is completely aligned with your organization’s vision, shares it, and whole heartedly embraces it? It’s not that employees don’t understand the vision. They certainly do! But they do not experience or engage with it, as much as the leaders who conceptualized it. This happens because effectively communicating the organization’s vision is one of the most frustrating aspects of leading. Such crucial information is many a times just read from the vision statement, or just narrated in a lack-luster manner.

What then is the most engaging and inspiring way to communicate a compelling vision? We have a few ideas.

Invoke imagery. Our imagination has the capacity to invoke deep passion and creative energy. A proven way to trigger this is the use of metaphors and similes. It is easier to explain an idea with metaphors, because they are vivid, sensual forms of communication. They not only give language to your emotion, but also create images that stick in the minds of listeners. Some metaphors however, are dead as doornails, because they’ve become a part of our daily language. For example, “We just need to soldier on,” may not impact people much. But if you can come up with something different, like “One person cannot whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play It,” then you’d be inviting a whole new experience. Using sensory metaphors to engage people, is a powerful way to ensure buy-in. Just like a good restaurant draws people in with its smells, tastes, sights and textures.

Some metaphor themes you can compare your vision to are:

  • Revolutions
  • Scenes in nature
  • Ceremonies
  • Sports or games
  • Dances or music
  • Adventures

Connect your vision to stories.
Just like metaphors, stories have an intimate way of impacting us. We get hooked and become characters in the stories we hear. That is why reading is such a personal experience. To create exactly that, pick stories from your life, which echo of why the vision exists. Why are you convinced that this vision is so inspiring? What parts of you does the vision touch? Speak of all such snippets that show your heart, soul and intellect to your team. Such stories help them realize the extent of their ownership of the vision, infusing them with energy. This little effort from your side will make your team part of an organizational narrative that goes beyond their roles. That is when commitment comes through!

Here are some questions to help you explore what stories to pick:

  • What impact do you want to have on your audience? What do you want them to think, say or do?
  • When you look back at your career, what moments inspired you to choose what you do?
  • Make a list of things about your work that you feel deeply passionate about. Do you notice common themes? What are some events in which this passion shone through?
  • Recall moments when you’ve noticed your team members living the organization’s vision to its core.

Whenever the need to have a conversation around vision arises, the intent almost always is to inspire people. Why bother unless you leave them with something to take away, and something to remember?

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