MP_Vision_W200Before a leadership team begins its EOS journey, we ask each member of the team to rate the company from 1-10 (with 10 being best) in answer to three questions. The second question is, “How aligned is your organization around the company’s vision and plan?”

The average answer to that question is 4, and it’s not at all unusual for the owner/Visionary to offer a score several points higher than anyone else on the team.

Failpoints for Sharing a Company Vision

After nearly a thousand full-day EOS sessions with the leadership teams of 100 companies, I’ve begun to understand the four root causes of that potentially fatal disconnect between the Vision in your head, and what everyone else in the organization is doing every day.

1) It’s not simple. As your organization grows, it becomes more complex at the same time that you’re rapidly adding people and levels of communication.

Great leaders use a few clear words that make sense to everyone, not lots of words and abstract concepts that create confusion and ambiguity.

2) You don’t all agree. No truly entrepreneurial company lacks vision; the real problem is too often that each member of a leadership team has a slightly different view of where the company is going, and how it plans to get there. The only way to achieve agreement is through discussion, debate and real conflict.

When we’re working with a team to clarify and simplify the company’s vision, we ask eight questions and don’t move on until we hear the sweet sound of agreement. If you and your team haven’t yet had any real conflict around your company vision and plan, it’s highly unlikely your team is 100% on the same page.

3) It’s not written down. Getting the vision and plan clear in your heads is a major accomplishment, but it’s only a start. The next step is writing it down, using clear, simple words.

Whether or not you use a V/TO is up to you – but you must write it down. That will allow you and your leadership team to come back to the vision and plan regularly (we suggest quarterly) to confirm it or change it, because things change rapidly in an entrepreneurial company.

Once you’re all on the same page (often after resolving some conflict), a written document ensures that you all present the same vision and plan, appearing as one team, with one vision and one voice.

4) You don’t repeat yourself often enough. Humans need to hear something seven times to truly understand and internalize it for the first time. When you get tired of hearing yourself talk about the company’s Core Values, Core Focus, 10-Year Target, etc., then you’re almost doing it enough. Because at the end of the day, a great leader knows her only job is clarifying, simplifying, and achieving the company’s vision through its people. When they don’t know what the vision is, what your plan and priorities are, and how they can help achieve it – you’re just alone, spinning your wheels.

These are four common mistakes. If you’re making one or more of them, there’s no reason to panic – it just means you’re human. It is possible to clarify, simplify, and achieve your vision. It’s possible to instill discipline and accountability throughout the organization, and to ensure everyone is consistently executing on your vision.  Thousands of entrepreneurial companies running on EOS are proving it every day.

More by Mike Paton

Republished with the Publisher's Permission.

Originally published in EOSworldwide.com on July 7, 2016
More by Mike Paton