A Team Will Help You Achieve Your Vision
February 15, 2021
Bringing a vision to reality is not easy. You might have a vision for a new business you want to start. You might want to take your department at your company to the next level. Or you might have a nonprofit you want to start that you just know will help people that so need to be helped. But once you have such a vision, what do you do with it? Getting a team on board with your vision is not easy. How can anyone fully grasp the vision you have? How can anyone be as passionate about it as you are? And therefore, how can anyone do as good a job as you would in making it a reality?
But the paradox is that without a team, typically our vision won’t happen. It will be dead on arrival – if it actually arrives. If we want our vision to become reality, in most cases we have to have a team by our side to make that vision a reality. So how do assemble a good team? If we are honest with ourselves we often have a lot of internal resistance to bringing on a team. We will have to overcome the following preconceptions we may well have in building that team:
- A team won’t get the vision
- Everything is going to take so long; implementation by committee is a nightmare
- Inevitably there will be division and conflict which, of course, will make things take even longer
How do we move beyond these mental and practical blockages? Here are some tips to assembling a good team and alleviating at least some of the above challenges.
1) Change your attitude.
Your vision almost certainly will not become reality without help. That means you need a team. And yes, it might seem like things will take longer as you discuss steps and initiatives with your team. But remember, you want your vision to happen, so time spent hiring the right team and making sure that your team is on the same page is time well spent. Your desire for your vision to come to fruition should fuel your patience.
2) Hire for character, attitude and alignment to the vision.
In typical hiring practices, we look for those most skilled and qualified for the job. Do they have great experience at great organizations? Do they have good grades from great schools? While this is not wrong, qualifications and experience, while important, are not the most important hiring criteria. Character, attitude and alignment to the vision are. You can train for skills — at least to a large degree — but it is much harder to train for character, attitude and alignment to the vision. You want people who are driven, yet humble (Level 5 leaders, as Jim Collins calls them in Good to Great). They put the team first, before their own success. They don’t always have to be right. They truly want to listen to others. They are curious and love to learn. They are reliable. They get done what they say they will get done. They are also 100 percent committed to the vision. When you find people like this, do not let them go!
3) You want a team with a diverse set of skills.
In particular, you want a team with a different and a complementary set of skills to yours. If you are a founder or a visionary, you will often be driven and passionate about your vision. You may well be entrepreneurial and impatient to get moving immediately, and may not want to take too long thinking things through. “What we need is action and action now!” is one of your favorite phrases. Fair enough. But you might want to surround yourself with some thoughtful and reliable implementers who will think things through step by step. Depending on your organization, you may well need engineers, manufacturing and operations people, research and development, marketing and sales, financial people. A diverse range of skills. In a smaller start-up business or non-profit, you might just have two or three people on your team. Figure out what key skills are needed to compliment your own, even if the personality of those types of people really annoy you. You might find engineers frustrating because it seems like all they say is that your dream is not practical. The financial folks might say that what you are trying to sell is too costly. The sales and marketing people might say that there is no market for your product. But the collective wisdom of a diverse team is powerful.
4) You need to be the chief evangelist for your vision.
Your primary job as the founder and visionary, is to get your team on board. You do that in two ways. First you talk about your vision often, at all times and in many ways. Second, you ask your team what the vision means to them and to their department. What does the vision look like in engineering, manufacturing, finance, and marketing and sales? Then ask them, how the vision could be improved. Yes this is risky, but if the vision is improved, why turn away a good idea?
5) You need to be patient.
By this stage, you have hopefully hired the right team; character, attitude, and alignment to the vision first, skills second. You have a team with a diverse set of skills that are complementary to your own skills. You have also continually communicated your vision to your team and asked them for input into the vision. Once you have done all this, you need to be patient. You need to honor the process. You need to wait. Yes, “wait,” that dreaded word. Trust your team! Yes, that means honoring the process, allowing your team to have input each step of the way, listening to push back, working it through, getting resolution. It all takes time. A lot of time sometimes. But it is worth it.
Being patient, hiring the right team with character, attitude and who are aligned to the vision, with a diverse set of skills, takes time. It also takes time continually reminding your team of the vision and continually listening for input. Why bother with all of this? Because your vision is important. The world needs your vision. So you need to be patient, hire the right people, honor the process, including listening to your team’s input. If your vision is too important to fail, it is too important for you to be impatient.
- Think about your attitude. If you are a go-it-alone impatient visionary, what is the first step you need to take in changing your attitude?
- What are the critical character and attitude qualities you need for your business or non-profit to succeed; and how will you ensure that your hiring practices are changed to include these qualities as well as ensuring that new hires are aligned to the vision?
- What processes and mechanisms will you put in place to ensure that your great and committed team is heard and has buy in, so that your vision truly does become reality?