An Essential Discussion: Aligning Values & Vision To Improve Strategic Focus

In conversing with several of our clients, the dynamic changes in the highly competitive U.S. and global economies are reflecting increased merger /acquisitions activity or underscore enhanced internal expansion efforts at every level.  This market reality challenges team managers at every level to redefine their units’ futures, determine how new goals are to be achieved and how will increased market penetration and new product development be optimally achieved?

Managers, therefore, need to find ways to clarify their teams’ vision, affirm the values that will support that vision and guide the unit toward achieving greater market presence through accelerated new product development. It is important that managers employ a pragmatic Values/Vision analytical process with their team members specifically to verify and reinforce the basic tenants that make the firm increasingly viable.  In view of newer external or internal changes within your company (i.e. executive/managerial changes, staffing, product line enhancements, etc.), the following introspective process is useful to clarify Vision/Values:

I. Defining Values – “A unit’s values are things that motivate its staff members to act, react and interact in certain ways.”

In any organization members’ individual values affect all levels of behavior at work:  

  • task orientation,
  • level of speed and quality towards which the unit strives,
  • degree of interpersonal connection the units’ members’ require,
  • points at which members feel compromised by certain activities,
  • degree to which they can relinquish individual desires for the good of the team.

Often relationships among team members are improved greatly when they share and development an understanding of one another’s values. Value clarification is essential when the team members need to understand themselves and one another better in order to work toward common goals.

Additionally, when the team members determine what they value as a team and what their teams’ mission is, they have defined what they expect of themselves and one another as a functioning unit.

They can then:

  •  Work more effectively together
  • Establish clear goals more easily
  • Expedite their problem-solving and decision-making processes
  • Determine how to respond in situations in a way that promotes the good of the team

 II. Common Values Considerations – Our 2015 research continues to show that most people share common values to varying degrees.

Here are some of the drivers that may be important to people who are working together on a team:

  • Getting along with colleagues
  • Professional reputation
  • Achieving business goals
  • Opportunity to do exciting work
  • Leisure time for family or relaxation
  • Material wealth
  • Respect of peers
  • Contributing to society
  • Accomplishing personal goals

Understanding the values that each team member considers most important sets up the foundation for understanding your team’s motivation.

Before identifying team values, ask:

  • What are the organization’s values?
  • How do our team goals match the organization’s values?
  • What values do we see as common? Differing?
  • How can awareness of individual, team and organizational values help you accomplish your team’s objectives at work?

In your experience, how well is your team living the values discussed above?

III. Create A Vision Statement

Visions are future oriented and help the team:

  • Focus energy
  • Clarify goals
  • Set priorities

“Excellent vision statements bridge the gap between the organization’s vision/mission and the team’s accountabilities”. (as referenced in Successful Managers Handbook).

Any excellent Vision Statement must be future-oriented and describes an ideal state. Many organizations never achieve the ideal state of their vision, however, a well-designed Vision Statement provides a sense of direction for the organization and helps people to understand how their jobs contribute to overall organizational success.

Vision Statement Considerations:

  • Does your Vision Statement stretch the team while remaining in the realm of possibilities?
  • Does it provide each person with a personal sense of pride and ownership?
  • Does it generate some sense of enthusiasm among team members?

Both external and internal factors will have impact on the team’s ability to realize its vision:

 

External To Team

(May not be under team control)

Internal To Team

(may be under team control)

Competition Strengths & Weaknesses
Resources Operational history
Market Talent pool
Vendors / Suppliers Quality processes
Customers Organizational culture
Legislation / regulation Management style
Global issues Sources of dissatisfaction
Technology Sources of potential resistance
Industry trends Geographical dispersion

 

 

Thoughts to consider/discuss with your team:

  • Do you have control over some or all of these factors?
  • Which ones can you control?
  • How might you and your team increase your control?
  • A team or department’s vision will become reality only when people have a clear idea of what is expected of them, both on a daily basis and over the longer-term
  • Effective leaders link and clarify the connections between individual efforts and team objectives.
  • They ensure that individual efforts are aligned with the teams vision of the future.
  • They clarify responsibilities to:
    • Increase ownership
    • Alleviate conflicts
    • Eliminate unnecessary ambiguity

Having your established or newly organized team work through this process has proven to be an especially useful effort. We at PACES, LLC have helped many organizations, ranging from Fortune 10 to smaller privately held firms, in working through this process providing useful Values and Vision statements which become the hallmarks of highly focused, well-aligned teams in a variety of industries. We facilitate these developmental programs at every level from Board and C-Suite to smaller working units and teams with tangible, positive results.

Please contact Phil LaRiviere at PACES (224-307-2466) or email (phil@pacesllc.com) to discuss facilitating this session within your organization.

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