Over and over again, studies show that creating a shared — or cohesive — vision is all about listening to others’ perspectives. The only way to make a vision stick long-term is to make sure it is truly shared. That means it has to speak to the goals and aspirations of more than just one person.
To get people to buy in, a leader first has to engage other team members. Asking — and answering for yourself — questions like the following are crucial to creating a cohesive vision across the board:
- What would you like your health system or hospital to be known for in 10 years?
- What is it about your vision for the organization that makes it important to you?
- Does the discussed vision bring connect with and bring value to all the members on your team with respect to their aspirations for the system?
“When everyone is on board, it’s much easier to navigate changes that come along with pursuing the vision, motivate people to take part, and sustain the workforce,” says Ed Fry, Co-Founder and Principle Leader of HealthSearch Partners.
Additionally, to truly be mission-minded, the vision for the organization must take into account what it would look like to pursue its mission first and foremost, regardless of whether it falls into place with what has been done traditionally. The vision must encompass the future of the health system should it be strongly committed to mission over the status quo.
Once the vision has been discussed and agreed upon, you’ve got to make a plan. It does no good to establish a vision without a plan of how to get there. Laying out goals and benchmarks for the future means you can measure how well the vision is coming to fruition in reality and whether anything needs to be adjusted along the way.
After the plan has been established, the vision must be communicated to stakeholders with equal parts inspiration and clarity. Sharing your own passion and excitement for a new vision is one of the best ways to inspire a team toward the same idea. Helping people buy in to the idea is critical, but if it is a shared vision and takes into account the hopes and ideas of others, buy-in will be easier to achieve. Empowering others to “run with” the vision is also a great way to ensure a cohesive vision not only exists, but thrives. Giving others the ability to pursue the vision in their own areas of influence gives them a sense of ownership over the vision, making it even more collective in nature.
Lastly, it’s important to continually revisit the vision, especially in times of challenge for the organization.
“A vision is not a one-and-done solution. It has to be continually reinforced and refreshed in the minds of the team,” says Neill Marshall, Chairman of HealthSearch Partners. “Be intentional about scheduling time to remind others and discuss the value of the vision and the steps being taken to get there. Evaluate how well the established goals and benchmarks are being reached and determine whether or not adjustments need to be made.”
Another way to keep the vision top-of-mind is by celebrating successes along the way, keeping up excitement as you continue forward into what you hope will be the future. Refreshing the team on the vision periodically and measuring progress will keep your shared vision intact and ensure you are accomplishing your mission along the way.
“To be fully committed to your mission, formulating a clear vision and adhering to it across the board is critical,” says Laura Conley, Senior Vice President and COO of HealthSearch Partners. “It takes additional efforts and a dedication that can often lack in a large organization, but if your team can live it out, you’ll make an even greater impact.”
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