Tasked with setting a vision that drives performance, where do we start?

We may assume that with talented and highly skilled employees, it is enough to simply inform them of what we want, but even if with the right mind-set, today’s employees face many challenges.

Every day they are faced with multiple, competing priorities, and a pace of change that is unprecedented.  Our employees are like ships, buffeted around by unpredictable and changing weather, and when all their efforts are focused on simply trying to stay afloat, the only thing that keeps them on course is a clear reminder of their destination, and it needs to be attractive.

When seeking a high-performing culture, the starting point is a vision, formulated not only clearly, but also in a way that engages, entices and inspires.

Let’s imagine, for example, a highly talented football player who wants to be the top goal scorer of the season.  He or she decides to forgo this, however, in favour of preserving the team formation and passing the ball to someone else to score.   Why would he or she do this?  The answer is in the football team’s vision, which might be something like “we want to be the only team to win the league five times in a row”.

Whether in sport or business, the vision needs to depict success for the entire team or company that is so ambitious as to be more attractive than the rewards available for any individual team member. 

When formulating a vision for high-performance, then, the first thing it requires is to be is AMBITIOUS.  An ambitious vision will keep employees engaged and inspired for a long time, and there is something very motivating about striving for something that is extremely difficult to achieve.

Secondly, the vision needs to be TOWARDS.  A towards vision is one which is focused on what we want, rather than what we don’t want.  This is important because what the brain can visualise, the body can materialise.    This phenomenon has been long recognised in sport, which is why athletes and Olympians spend many hours visualising the successes that they want, so that by the time they get to the big event, the mind has already rehearsed it many times.

Finally, and most importantly, the vision needs to be EMOTIVE.  Our human brains make decisions based not just on logic but also on emotion, and it takes emotion for employees to take courageous action and do the right thing for people and the business, regardless of the social, hierarchical and cultural barriers that exist within companies.

When everyone is engaged around the vision (because it is ambitious, towards and emotive), they become confident change leaders, and Employee Confidence grows.  Employee Confidence creates culture which provides the springboard for high performance.

 “Employee Confidence – the new rules of Engagement” launches on 26th April.  To pre-order your copy, click on the link below.