Transforming Vision Into Success
Mark, the CEO of a nonprofit organization, had great ideas and a vision for where he wanted to lead the organization, but wondered if the staff would follow? Would the organization be able to make the shift necessary to get there? Would old habits, behaviors, and practices support or inhibit his ability to make changes? He was unsure where to begin.
Mark noticed that his team was overworked and that there was a frantic pace in the office. For the most part, everything that needed to get done was accomplished. However, a key member of his team left to pursue another opportunity. Mark could not afford to lose any more members of his small staff. There were no documented processes in place and he wasn’t sure on the specific responsibilities or activities of his team. For many years they got the job done and no one questioned how they did their work.
During the past five months Marks’ focus was on increasing donor funding and sharing his exciting future vision with the general public. He presented his vision frequently for potential donors, journalists and Board of Directors meetings. However, he was so busy his staff rarely saw him. He also had so many great ideas that his team became uncertain of what was wishful thinking and what Mark intended to accomplish. He was focused on a massive development project that would drive the growth and direction he believed in. Unfortunately members of his team were unhappy with this direction and were resisting anything related to the new project.
To refocus the organization in a common direction and to engage everyone in the process, Mark needed to understand the current culture of the organization.
- Was his vision translated into actionable goals and being implemented by his team?
- Did organizational processes enable repeatable activities to be executed consistently?
- Were the employee’s engaged and empowered to their highest level of productivity?
- Could the organization adapt to changes and respond to the needs of its customers?
How does a leader whose strength is vision casting, not vision implementing, make his vision a reality?
With the help of Brighton Leadership Group, Mark turned his vision into actionable goals, engaged and empowered the right people, and established repeatable business processes.
Mark could not maximize his organization’s potential without the full engagement of his people. Key individuals in the organization needed to be assessed for fit and appropriate skill development to accomplish the vision Mark was leading. To determine where the organization needed to change, and what form that intervention should take, an organizational assessment was performed.
The organizational assessment answered questions such as:
- Where have we been successful?
- Where have we fallen short?
- How would we (and our customers) describe our current state?
- What is our shared vision for the future?
- Where are the gaps between current and desired state?
- What people, processes and technology do we need to support our goal?
- Are we effectively leveraging the resources we have?
- Will our current infrastructure (physical, financial, technological, staff structure, etc.) sustain us?
- Do we have the right people in the right roles?
- Have we hired people who are diverse in thought, experience, and expertise?
- What do the people need in order to be more fully engaged?
To help Mark and his team answer those key questions, Brighton Leadership Group employed various tools; customizing them to achieve the desired results:
➢ Denison Culture Survey – a set of diagnostic surveys, rooted in research linking organizational culture and leadership to business performance
➢ GAP Analysis – a simple process for determining the steps to be taken in moving from a current state to a desired future-state
➢ Voice of the Customer Surveys and follow-up focus groups – consists of both qualitative and quantitative research steps to better understand the customer’s wants and needs
➢ Employee Surveys and individual follow-up or focus groups – to measure and understand employees’ attitude, opinions, motivation, and satisfaction
➢ Review of Recruiting and Retention Strategies – to assess current organizational documentation for process improvement opportunities
Brighton Leadership Group’s assessment showed that the organization needed to build on its strengths and become an Adaptive Organization in order to achieve Mark’s vision. For example, to expand services, they needed to listen and respond more effectively to customer feedback. This required a shift in mindset for Mark and his team. They had to stop thinking about customers as people “out there” and begin to see them as partners and stakeholders instead. They needed to learn to act with a sense of urgency when customers provide feedback about their wants, needs, likes and dislikes.
A communication feedback loop of was designed as an outcome of the Voice of the Customer survey. This enabled organizational resources to be focused on improvements that mattered to customers. Consequently customer satisfaction scores increased fifteen percent.
- Maintain awareness of their environment and their stakeholders
- Remain responsive and flexible to the environment and stakeholders
- Communicate early and often at all levels internally and externally
- Cultivate a culture with shared vision and actionable goals
- Execute clear, consistent processes to achieve organizational excellence
Engaged employees leverage the resources of the organization to accomplish the vision of the leader. When engagement is high, employee satisfaction increases, retention decreases and productivity is maximized.
To effectively engage their people, good leaders need to translate their vision into actionable goals. Mark needed help articulating his vision, leading the change, and influencing others to turn his vision into action. Mark was sending mixed messages about his true vision. It was neither clear nor compelling. Brighton Leadership Group worked with Mark to define and refine his vision by crafting a story that made his team want to join him on the change journey.
Once the vision was clear the next step was defining goals. A critical component of translating vision into action is choosing the right words – creating actionable goals by using action words. Actionable goals help to create accountability and forward progress in teams. They help create and sustain momentum and commitment to a goal, while making it possible to measure success.
Brighton Leadership Group worked with Mark and his management team to clarify their goals. For example, “Better customer service” was made actionable by rewriting it to say “Improve customer satisfaction by 15 percent within the next two years.” The difference connotes “doing,” while helping staff understand what is being measured. Therefore, employees know where to focus their energy and scarce organizational resources. When goals are fuzzy it is difficult to describe the expected result, and even more difficult to make it happen. Measuring results is nearly impossible without this level of clarity.
Brighton Leadership Group partnered with Mark and his team to translate his vision into action with Actionable Goals, using the following steps:
- Articulate a clear vision; Mark spent time defining “what success looks like”
- Define why achieving the vision is important
- Assess the consequences of not achieving the vision
- Work with the team to ensure understanding and alignment
- Break the vision into specific Actionable Goals
- Define the who (is accountable), what (specifically needs done), by when
- The vision of the organization was clarified, then translated into actionable goals
- Employees were put in the role which they could be most successful in and thus leading to higher levels of engagement; the clarity of the goals enabled them to focus on priority activates
- Repeatable business processes, with supporting technology, were designed and installed
By becoming an Adaptive Organization, Mark, his team and the organization achieved the following outcomes:
Maximized results. Having a clear vision enabled the organization to maximize results by focusing in a consistent, common direction. Each team member was in a role that suited their strengths and abilities. They also were aligned in a common direction so that they worked together rather than at cross-purposes.
Improved productivity. Translating Mark’s vision into measurable, actionable goals yielded results including increased productivity, improved work quality, higher employee engagement, and satisfaction. Repeatable and predictable processes saved time by reducing re-work, duplicate efforts and inefficient use of limited resources.
Increased innovation. Attention to customer needs through feedback mechanisms and effective use of business tools and technology promoted innovation. The development project was successfully completed and although the structural design remained the same the use of the facility was modified from Mark’s original vision due to input from the team, stakeholders and most of all, the customers.
Improved customer satisfaction. Awareness of the customer’s wants and needs improved the customer experience. This enabled Mark to update his vision for the use of the facility, which in turn improved processes and performance.
Increased visibility in the market. Higher productivity and alignment of all resources allowed the organization to accomplish Mark’s vision in such dramatic fashion that he was featured in several local new stories. The realization of Mark’s vision helped the organization stand apart from its competition.
In partnership with Brighton Leadership Group, Mark made his vision a reality. Over time, the organization continued to increase market share, significantly improved customer satisfaction scores, continuously improve processes and apply the learning’s from this intervention to a new vision. Mark and his team represent how Adaptable Organizations thrive and grow.
To find out more contact Scott or Donna by clicking here or call +1-847-686-3500.