Friday, August 22, 2008

Tactics for Communicating Vision

The purpose of a compelling vision statement is to inspire and guide in a cohesive way the actions of a group. Once a vision statement has been decided (an intentional, intensive process), it is paramount that it be communicated in a consistent and effective manner. The goal is for the vision to take root and take hold within the organization, and to be known and confirmed by your users' experiences as they experience your organization. Additional happy users can become your best marketers and must be able to communicate your vision consistently and effectively.

This blog entry from The Practice of Leadership blog lists communication tactics that leaders can use to communicate their vision. It would be hard to improve upon their list:

  • Stories. When you tell a good story, you give life to a vision. The telling of stories creates trust, captures hearts and minds, and serves as a reminder of the vision.
  • The elevator speech. Every leader needs to be able to communicate the vision in a clear, brief way. What compelling vision can you describe in the amount of time you have during a typical elevator ride?
  • Multiple media. The more channels of communication you use, the better your chance of creating an organization that "gets" the vision. Use the newest communication technologies, but don’t forget the tangibles: coffee mugs, t-shirts, luggage tags and whatever else you can think of that will keep the message in circulation.
  • Talk to me. Individualize the vision by engaging others in one-on-one conversations. Personal connections give leaders opportunities to transmit information, receive feedback, build support and create energy around the vision.
  • Draw a crowd. Identify key players, communicators, stakeholders and supporters throughout the organization who will motivate others to reflect on and be engaged with the vision.
  • Go outside. Communicate to external customers, partners and vendors with advertising and public relations campaigns, catalogs, announcements and other statements.
  • Make memories. Create metaphors, figures of speech and slogans — and find creative ways to use them. Write a theme song or a memorable motto.
  • Guide the expedition. Use visual aids and updates to keep everyone aware of the progress you are making toward your vision.
  • Back it up. If you’re talking it up, be sure to back it up with actions and behaviors. If people see one thing and hear another, your credibility is shot and your vision is dead.

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