Building Spirited Business Teams Part 1

The Power of a Shared Vision

There are two types of teams.  Teams with spirit and teams without spirit.  Teams with spirit are winners.  Teams without spirit are losers.  That’s just the way it is.  Take a look at your favorite sports teams.  Take a look at the teams in your organization that outperform others.  And you will see that the reality is that teams with spirit make great things happen. Spirited Teams have 7 distinctive characteristics.  They:

  • Have an Inspiring Shared Vision
  • Think  and Act as a Team
  • Demonstrate Courage in Words and Action
  • Use 1+1=3, out-the-box Thinking
  • Make Profitable Decisions
  • Have a Healthy Sense of Humor
  • Show Humility

Today’s article is about how spirited business teams use the power of a Shared Vision.  Here’s my version of what a vision is.  A corporate vision describes a dream that is emotionally inspiring and commercially relevant.  This means that when people hear the vision statement, they can almost see and touch and feel and smell that ultimate goal; and at the same time, they understand it logically.  Essentially you can call it what you like, a sense of purpose, a reason for being, and a guiding philosophy, the point is that a shared vision, well formulated and well communicated has the power to unite, inspire and align a workforce to deliver extraordinary performance.  Research shows that companies that have a vision that is alive and well and integrated into their DNA, continue to prosper even when others around them don’t think about it. 

Begin With a Vision

All significant behaviors and decisions begin with a vision first.  When everybody ‘gets’ where the company and the team is going, making decisions becomes so much easier.  They simply ask themselves the question…’does this decision take as a step closer to the vision?’

Skillfully applied, the company’s vision draws people like a magnet into the future and is the force that will sustain business teams when the going gets tough.   Having a shared vision is a business no-brainer.  It’s knowing how to use a vision that is the kicker!  I believe that one of the chief reasons for the notorious failure of companies to achieve their vision is that the vision statements are used for publication in the annual report and beautifully displayed in the reception area.  The vision is not cascaded down, and operationalized by every business team in the company.

Seven Step Process for Building Spirited Business Teams

The 7-step process for building spirited business teams that use the power of a shared vision.

  1. Create a grand, noble vision, of 8 words or less, expressed in 7-year old language, which elevates the energy, enthusiasm and self-esteem of everyone in the company.   When you hear the vision statement it should get you in the gut as well as the head.
  2. Avoid a vision statement that provokes the response, ‘So what?!’
  3. Set the sights high and have no time limit. It should make every employee excited about the future because they see a benefit for themselves in making it happen.  The best example is Merck, ‘We are in the business of preserving and improving human life.’  British Airways had a vision, ‘To Become the World’s Favorite Airline’ and when they achieved this; they began to lose their edge.
  4. Convey the vision in a dramatic and enduring way.  Please avoid memos, powerpoints, and boring speeches.  You cannot inspire and excite people’s imaginations through these forms of communication. This is a powerful dream you are communicating!   (Contact me at
    HYPERLINK “http://www.sandygluckman.com” www.sandygluckman.com to find to find out about some exciting and highly effective ways to communicate a vision to the workforce.
  5. Give the employees a picture or image with details to make this vision real.  Words alone are not enough.  People need a picture in their mind’s eye so they know what the outcome looks like. In addition to an image build a story around the vision.  Stories are the most powerful form of communication.  People relate to, and remember, stories very easily.
    Implement a process for articulating and communicating a vision and getting buy-in throughout the organization. Be prepared to take the time to do this. Each manager must be able to communicate the vision, describing how it cascades down specifically into their own organization or sub-organization.
  6. Discussion with each of the employees is necessary to ensure they fully understand the vision and how it affects their own performance.  Each individual must then be able to talk about how they believe it affects them
  7. Keep the vision alive by constantly referring to it and using it in all decision-making.
    Good Luck!  You are on your way to Success!

In the second article in this series of seven, we will talk about the second characteristic of a team with Spirit – They Think and Act as a Team.
Invite Sandy to do her seriously funny Keynote Talk:   ‘What Vision? I don’t see a Vision.’  She will show your audience what makes a vision work.  Click here and scroll to the bottom of page.

Have you read her groundbreaking book?  Purchase Who’s in the Driver’s Seat: Using Spirit to Lead Successfully.  Companies are buying this book in bulk and giving it to every leader and manager.

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