Who shares in your vision? How reflective of your organization’s current culture is your vision? Are your frontline team members, that have the most amount of contact with your citizens, clients, or customers, engaged and enthusiastic about your vision? With 67% of people reporting to Gallup they are disengaged at work, and competition for time and people’s attention at an all time high, starting with why they want to work for your organization could be a good place to begin.
As we further explore Peter Senge’s, The Fifth Discipline of a Learning Organization, which outlines the 5 disciplines are personal mastery, mental models, building shared visions, team learning and systems thinking you may want to take a short-cut to learning the principles by trying this 15-minute summary version of the book.
I covered an overview of the principles in this blog post and went deeper into personal mastery and mental models here.
Next up, shared vision and team learning – what they mean and how you can apply them to your team and organization.
- Shared Vision is building a sense of commitment in a group, by developing shared images of the future we seek to create, and the principles and guiding practices by which we hope to get there.
What stood out to me, and maybe it did to you as well, was the use of “we” and “shared” and “in a group”. Who is your “we”? Most organizations create a vision when their executive leaders go on a retreat or one person, the founder, perhaps, develops it and shares it with everyone who works there. Many times, a vision is created and for years it is placed on the website and framed in their lobby. Peter Senge has a different way of approaching an organization’s vision.
Senge encourages organizations to share the vision, discuss it, modify it as you obtain new information and your organization changes and grows. Let your vision grow with it. Suppress ego, he says, and give credence and lend an ear to everyone’s idea, however, each idea should contribute towards establishing an all encompassing shared vision. It’s about working together, towards a common goal that everyone in your organization believes in. Conflict and failure occur when there are disparate visions or a lack of one at all.
“More people actively sharing in the vision not only bolsters their self esteem and sense of worth, it also makes full use of everyone’s personal strengths, thus enhancing the strength of the collective as a whole. If people feel left out, resentment may fester.” He also teaches that it must be kept in check with the measurement being whether it is at odds with what is realistically achievable.
Asking these questions, regularly, can help. What are we endeavoring to create? What is our ideology? Does our vision align with our ideals? Do team members feel like they are a part of our vision?
- Transforming conversational and collective thinking skills, so that groups of people can reliably develop intelligence and ability greater than the sum of individual members’ talents.
There it is again, things like “collective”, “groups of people”, “greater than the sum of individual members”. There’s a pattern to the most successful, innovative companies out there right now. They learn things together. Yes, they constantly improve their own skills and use a team effort to synthesize collectively to create a combined power. They collaborate to point the organization into one, clear, direction.
In order to seek team learning you’ll want to focus on:
- Shared skills
- Coordinated action
- Developing and nurturing interaction
- Defining one single, clear goal
- Promoting and refining communication
Start by asking yourself these questions:
Do you have platforms available to team members for open debate? Debating a point can lead to learning different perspectives and makes the decision-making process more informed.
Do you promote conflict? Yes, people are going to have to learn to have authentic communication in order to create greatness. People holding things back and not saying what they really think only further embeds silos which lead to lower productivity and performance. Here’s a past article about spotting the elephant in the room that might help.
Do you have learning platforms? When is the last time that your team go away from the office to experience something new and different in order to bond and build trust?
As I begin my learning adventure with a new, collaborative partner we are working with at Cortex, Axialent, I’ll be writing articles that focus on the main principles and practices that have helped their clients, like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Proctor and Gamble, and so many others, reach high profitability and innovation levels and low disengagement scores.