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The creation of a vision and its operational deployment

Becoming Leader

The creation of a vision and its operational deployment

One of the great challenges faced by every leader at any level of an organization is to create an engaging and motivating vision for his or her team.

Not only must it be aligned with that of his unit and company and contribute to the creation of value for all stakeholders (including shareholders), but it must also connect at the team level to help them take ownership of a meaning that motivates them every day.

The big mistake of many leaders is to take the vision of the company and communicate it at operational levels to which the vision does not really speak because it is too strategic, abstract almost theoretical.

When plant operators are told that our vision is “to become the world leader with 30% market share of Product X”, few will be inspired or connected.

At their level, we have to be able to explain a derived vision that speaks to them; for example, “To be the first factory of the group with an OTIF (on time in full) delivery rate of 99%”, which obviously contributes to the global vision but is much more tangible.

In this same plant, the production manager will also be able to express his team vision of “being the first production line of the group with an OEE or TRS of 90%”, which will of course speak even more to his group and make their role and contribution very clear.

The creation of a vision is always part of the deployment of a corporate strategy – which alone will define where it wants to operate in order to bring value.

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Once the strategy is known and established, it is often a matter for the management to clarify the path to bring it to fruition, often over several years.

It is this path that the corporate vision must reflect in the first place. Some companies come to have a strategy in 3 phases of 5 years each for example: it will be necessary to have a vision per phase to better engage the actors.

This long-term vision (maximum 5 years – which is very long term in our economic world now) is nothing without short-term clarity, which we call operational deployment.

The logic and objective of operational deployment is to make concrete, palpable, what we will have to do day after day to make our vision a reality, which will feed into the global vision and deliver the strategy and the expected value.

As a team leader, we will then have to define the structuring and transformative projects that will enable us to change processes, ways of working, mentalities and finally performance.

These projects must be coherent and articulated in a logical sequence and in line with the resources allocated to you – you cannot put the cart before the horse and often projects will call upon the same resources that will already be busy delivering the performance of the moment.

So be careful not to overwhelm operational teams with too many activities and sequence them correctly. Of course, their involvement in defining these projects is crucial (and yet such a common mistake): who delivered projects successfully and on time when they were not consulted and involved in their definition? Probably never anyone.

Our experience shows that the number of projects should be limited to less than 5 per group of people – we even recommend focusing on 3 and getting them done rather than scattering them.

If these projects are executed earlier than planned, then you can always add a 4th one but the dynamic will be more positive than tackling too many projects at once and not delivering anything on time.

So to summarize: one clear vision that speaks to your team and feeds the overall vision (which itself helps to realize the strategy) and to decline 3-5 projects max for your team and compatible with the available competent resources.

Then, of course, manage these projects and make sure that they progress at the expected pace.

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  • Step 1: Define the vision

Clearly articulate a vision that will create excitement and commitment for your team.

Clearly define long-term goals: from “x” to “y” to date “z” WITH your team.

  • Step 2: Implement the plan to achieve the vision

Describe all the projects/activities (What, For when, With what resources, What results are expected?).

Assign a person responsible for each project/activity – and verify that there is sufficient bandwidth to carry it out.

  • Step 3: Define measurement indicators towards the objectives that lead us to our vision

Set up a monitoring system (dashboard)

Identify the right monitoring measures (which will stimulate the “right” behaviors and focus on critical objectives) and ensure alignment of these indicators at all levels (organization, teams and staff).

Here is an example of a format to help connect the whole logically from the vision, through the builder projects and finally the measurements that will help us know if we are moving in the right direction and at the right pace.

In conclusion, the creation of a vision and its operational deployment is critical to any team dynamic and performance. Above all people, commitment is only created when 3 questions have been clearly answered by your employees:

  • Why do I work? What is my purpose?
  • How are we going to get there?
  • What is my role in contributing to it?

Our mission at Become a Leader is to make you comfortable with this phase and to encourage you to take the step as soon as possible when taking up a position or following important organizational or strategic changes.

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