written by Erica Quam
You live and breathe your vision every day. You have a clear picture of where your team can go. You know the potential that’s there for your team this year. You believe in what's possible.
Does anyone else on your team see it too?
They have to SEE what you're SAYING!
You’ve got to get YOUR vision out of your head and into the hearts and minds of your team.
THREE SIGNS YOU NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME COMMUNICATING YOUR VISION
You're constantly frustrated. It seems like you're the only one working towards your team goals. It's as if everyone else is just going through the motions and doing their own thing.
Your team is easily thrown off by obstacles and challenges. The smallest thing happens and throws everyone off course. Some athletes over-react...other athletes completely withdraw.
You're working really hard...all the freaking time...it literally feels as if you're pushing a big heavy rock up a really steep hill. You are the only one holding people accountable. You're always the 'bad guy.' Someone on the team screws up...and you're the only one to address it.
If any or all of those three signs resonate...then chances are you need to spend more time communicating your vision to your team.
STEP ONE. Get clear on your vision
Think of Vision like a simple equation = Be + Do + Have:
Who do you want to BE?
What do you want to DO?
What do you want to HAVE?
Start answering these questions as a team.
This will help you emphasize character skills over hard results. Then, coach your team on how they show up each day.
Keep yourself (and your team) focused on who they want to be as people - then results begin to follow.
Here’s a list of character skills to spark some inspiration taken from the book, What Drives Winning:
Hardworking, Competitive, Positive, Focused, Accountable, Resilient, Confident, Energetic, Disciplined, Motivated, Unselfish, Honest, Respectful, Appreciative, Humble, Loyal, Trustworthy, Encouraging, Socially Aware, and Caring
This approach will allow your athletes to focus on an effort that can be sustained for the long term vs. getting stuck or stalled when they don't achieve a specific result in the short term.
STEP TWO. Communicate your vision to your team
You have to clearly communicate your vision so your team knows what you believe is possible...not just once, not even twice...it needs to become part of your monthly, weekly, and daily message!
Get your vision out of your head and into the head's and heart's of the people on your team. Your athletes are the difference makers. You can't achieve your vision without them. It doesn't matter what you believe...unless you share it with them.
Find creative ways to communicate your vision to your team. Use a theme, a metaphor, or even simple quotes...that will help them conjure up their own images of what you're working towards.
Have fun with this! It's a great way for your team to stay anchored to your vision all season long.
STEP THREE. Get them to commit
Every athlete on your team should have a specific role to play. Your job is to help them discover their role and teach them exactly what they need to do to fulfill it. What does it look like when something is done and done well.
Maybe you have athletes on your team who won't make your lineup. Okay. What's their role? These athletes are still on your team and will be adding to or taking away from your overall vision.
Are they contributing in the classroom? Do they lead by example by working hard in practice no matter what? Maybe they're great at organizing team events and getting your athletes involved in the community.
Once they have a role, get them committed. Have them sign something. This is especially important for the generation of athletes you're working with today. Your athletes want to belong. They want to buy-in. Most of them do want to work towards a common goal. It just may take some effort on your part to make that happen.
NO VISION, NO COMMITMENT, NO MOMENTUM...
I worked with a coach a couple of year ago who never took time to articulate any team goals. She wasn't sure what her athletes were capable of that year and she just didn't want to put too much pressure on them.
What happened? Her team floundered. They were distracted, inconsistent, and unfocused. Anytime something didn't go the way they thought it should go, people freaked out. They started blaming each other, blaming her, and the team dynamics were just horrible.
I challenged her to 'do a reset' with her team - in the middle of the season. I asked her 1) go back and get clear on her vision, 2) communicate it to her team, and 3) get each athlete to commit to working towards one specific role.
Her athletes never realized how much she believed in them. Once they knew what she expected and what she believed possible...they started to believe it too. She had athletes on the team who before weren't engaged...simply because they didn't think what they did mattered to her at all. Even though they still weren't going to make the lineup, they knew what they needed to do that would matter.
The team had renewed energy and enthusiasm. Their attention was focused on an exciting vision that they could work towards together. Each athlete better understood their role. They felt valued. They were excited about the opportunity to contribute.
Clarity First – Commitment Second
Be the kind of leader that communicates a vision that everyone on your team can both understand and can participate in. Get clear, communicate, and then get your team committed to the results you know are possible for your team this year!