The pandemic changed everything about the modern workplace, and pushed managers and worker bees alike to rethink what makes for a successful workplace. A vision statement, even one modified for newly learned lessons in diversity and inclusion, can guide your team or organization, but it needs to stimulate real action. Don’t waste your time on vague, feel-good catchphrases. Try this approach for project management:
Recruit a diverse team. Don’t start crafting a vision by yourself, and refrain from including only your usual group of friends and colleagues. Your vision-building team should include people from outside your department, and include employees who work closely with current customers and suppliers, and people from the top, middle, and lower levels of your group or organization. Or, if you work solo, be sure to include freelancers who embody different ideals for a wide scope of insight.
Define your process and purpose. What’s your objective in creating a vision? How do you plan to go about the task? What will the final vision look and sound like? Setting this out ahead of time minimizes the chances that you’ll fall prey to “mission creep” and try to accomplish too much with your project.
Take your time. A vision that inspires people to action doesn’t come out of a single afternoon brainstorming session. Everyone involved with your latest project needs to spend time asking questions about your industry, customers, competitors, trends—everything that affects the success of your vision. You have to build a foundation of learning before you can go forward.
Base your vision on principle. An effective vision isn’t about processes or products, but principles— guidelines for action and behavior. Explore the values that guide the organization: What’s their impact on what people do? Rely on principles that are timeless and easy to grasp, even if they’re sometimes difficult to live up to.
Think from a future perspective. Don’t base your vision on where you are today, but on where you want to be in five, or 10, or 50 years. Pretend you’re writing a history of the organization and talk about the directions you took and the obstacles you had to overcome in order to succeed.