You’re a leader. You have a bold vision.
You know that in order to make your vision a reality you need to get others on board.
You know it takes teamwork to make the dream work. No one has ever achieved greatness on their own. Behind every great leader is a team that helped make the success possible.
But if you’re struggling to gain the buy-in and support for your vision, remember, people buy into the leader first then they buy into the vision.
Often, leaders think that if they have the right vision they will attract the right people. Unfortunately, building a team and gaining support for your vision does not work that way.
People want to see your credibility, passion, conviction and track record. Only then will they be open to catching and pursuing your vision.
Emotion creates motion. People are first influenced emotionally, then they justify logically.
When it comes to casting vision, however, you also need a third component. That component is visualization. To connect with people and inspire them to engage, you need the triad of logic, emotion and visualization.
1 – Logically Communicate the Vision
The first step is ensuring you touch the present reality.
Jim Collins explained this well in his best-selling book Good to Great when he said, “You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end and you must also confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.” [emphasis mine]
Demonstrate to people that you understand and appreciate the current situation.
When you are communicating a new vision, people are asking questions in their minds. The skeptics are asking, “But what about…?” They may say, “Yes, but…”. Some may even speak their concerns out loud, but if not you can rest assured they are asking these questions in their minds. Demonstrate that you understand and appreciate the current situation from their perspective.
Then, have a sound strategy for attaining your vision.
A good strategy will break the vision into manageable steps. It will instill certainty that the vision is attainable. If a vision seems too large and unattainable people will become discouraged, disconnect and will lose interest.
Casting vision logically is an art form. It takes practice and work to provide enough information to address concerns without getting bogged down in the details. If you want to effectively cast vision, you must master this skill.
2 – Emotionally Communicate the Vision
Presenting the vision logically will reduce resistance. However, that will not be enough to get people to step forward and embrace the new vision. You need to connect with them emotionally. Remember, emotion creates motion.
This requires an understanding of your audience and what is most important to them. Zig Ziglar taught me that others are tuned to a radio station called WIIFM – the What’s In It For Me station. Communicate your vision from their perspective. Help them see just what is in it for them.
I have found that when building a team, people are often inspired to be a part of something special. They want to be associated with something positive, with winning, and they want their work to have meaning. People are inspired by a mission that is worthy of their level of leadership. Casting vision should create a pull effect, not a push effect.
When Apple was in its infancy, its legendary founder Steve Jobs, in his mid 20’s, recruited John Scully, who at the time was President and CEO for one of the top brands in the world, Pepsi.
He did so by appealing to Scully’s desire to do work that had meaning. Scully was finally inspired to join Apple after Jobs asked, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”
Steve was emotionally connecting his vision to what was most important to John Scully.
Focusing on the needs of others is critical. However, people are also interested in your story. They want to hear your passion and vision. They need to know why you are committed. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. Make it easy for them to feel your heart, feel your passion and feel your conviction.
3 – Demonstrate the Vision
The final step is demonstrating the vision.
Many people cast inspiring visions of being the biggest, the best and the most respected. All of these are great aspirations. However, it takes great commitment and discipline to make that vision a reality.
When a leader casts the vision logically and emotionally they create hope. But when people see the leader living the ideals created through the vision it builds belief. Belief that the vision can indeed become a reality and that they can be a valuable team member.
Fear is the enemy of progress and achievement. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure; even fear of success. However, belief is the antidote to fear. It is an antidote that you can never have enough of.
If you do everything within your power to live your vision, you become a living advertisement for it. Few things are more compelling to others than that.
Strong leaders have bold visions. Having vision is a great start, but it is not enough. You must be able to communicate that vision and gain the buy-in of a team.
Mastering the ability to cast vision will ensure you attract the team necessary to turn your bold vision into a big success story.