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Setting a Vision for Teams: Ideas for Leading with a Vision Statement

A vision statement summarizes the purpose of a business in one or two sentences that help leaders and employees work toward a common goal. Team leaders can not only embrace the company’s vision but also set a vision for a team. A team vision statement offers clear direction so members know why they’re doing what they do and how that fits within the larger corporate vision. Your leadership around this team vision may also inspire your employees to do their best work because they believe in what they do.

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The benefits of creating a team vision

Successful organizations, in general, and successful teams, in particular, know how important it is to create a crystal clear purpose and vision. This understanding makes having a team vision statement a powerful way to bring team members together to work toward common goals, even when performing their day-to-day tasks. A vision for a team offers three key benefits for your team—focus, clarity and confidence.

Focus

Each member of your team may have their particular job, but each job works together to create a final product passed onto others. This means that your vision for a team should bring each team member into alignment with the team’s overall purpose and goals. Bringing a team vision firmly into focus optimizes productivity, smoothes the collaborative process, and reduces conflicts between team members.

Clarity

A sense of purpose also creates motivation both for individuals and teams. Even if it feels mundane, connecting what they do helps team members understand the broader impact they make on the organization as a whole. This clarity, in turn, typically increases employee engagement and improves job satisfaction, which may also boost efficiency and reduce turnover rates.

Confidence

A team that knows its purpose can act confidently when decisions must be made. When inevitable challenges arise, each member has the knowledge and power to make consistent, informed decisions that align with the team’s and organization’s overall goals. This empowerment enables teams to own their choices and outcomes, creating a culture of accountability.

Corporate vs. team vision statements

While company and team vision statements are similar in that they state the shared purpose of groups, they differ in several key ways. These include:

  • Scope: Company vision statements are broad and all-encompassing, as their scope reflects the values of the entire organization. In contrast, team vision statements are more focused since they hone in on the goals of much smaller groups.
  • Detail: When corporations create their company vision statements, they often do so with their aspirations, not reality, in mind. Team vision statements, by contrast, have more complexity and detail since they focus on how things need to work at ground level.
  • Adaptability: Vision statements created by companies rarely change since long-term goals go into their formulation. Conversely, team vision statements frequently change as old goals are met and new goals and challenges arise.

How to create a vision for a team

While you may have many tasks to follow up on with team members, making time to create a team vision should be an important priority as well. Team members who work well together produce better products, so aligning their goals not only with others in their group but also with your organization at large confers numerous advantages. With that in mind, follow these steps to create an effective planning process that reflects your company’s values.

1. Involve your team

Your team is more likely to accept and embrace a vision if they are part of creating it. Talk to each member individually, then schedule a meeting to discuss ideas for at least a few weeks in the future. Waiting a bit gives your team time to think about their purpose and put it into words they can share during a group discussion. In some cases, you may want to hold the meeting at an off-site location to avoid the day-to-day distractions of the workplace.

2. Bringin a facilitator

While you may be able to lead the discussion around vision and help the team produce a statement, you might want to bring in a third-party facilitator to run the meeting. An outside party can make your meeting more productive and let you participate in the discussion as one of the team. Also, these professionals offer a unique, objective point of view and may spot opportunities your team doesn’t have because they’re too close to the issues.

3. Keep the statement short

Make your team vision statement brief yet memorable and inspirational. You don’t need a final polished version of the statement at the end of your meeting, just a draft statement in a summary format that contains the main ideas of the group’s consensus. Work on the exact wording later, or assign one or more of your team members to do it.

4. Be bold but realistic

A good team vision statement should challenge employees to reach a goal. That goal should be attainable and align with the company’s overall goals. Relate your vision to what your team does and push them to do it better.

5. Commit to the vision

It’s important for each team member to feel that the vision can help them succeed within the company. Invite any team members to contact you if they have questions or want to talk more about the statement. Their commitment should reinforce the team bonding that occurred during the planning and creative phases.

6. Use your team vision statement

Once you have a final version of your team vision statement, use it. Team members can use it in their email signatures or add it to a poster hanging in a shared space. Whenever you put your team name on stationary, business cards or other media, be sure the vision statement follows it. When creating new goals, imbue each task with purpose by considering your team vision statement.

Leadership vision statement examples

There’s no harm in seeking inspiration from others when creating your vision for a team as long as your finished product is original and accurately states your shared purpose. Use the following fictional examples of team vision statements to help you create your own:

  • “Reliable data from the best sources the way you need it”
  • “Resolving issues promptly with accuracy and transparency”
  • “Taking the best care of the company’s greatest asset: the employee”
  • “The best technical solutions in the shortest time possible”
  • “To support each other while making the world a better place”
  • “Helping others realize their full potential by creating attainable goals”

Ways to reinforce your vision for a team

Creating a team vision statement is one thing, but getting your employees to create a company culture where it’s upheld with consistency is another. These tips can help you put the team vision into practice, encouraging your team members to follow your lead.

Remind your team of the vision. As the leader, it’s important to take every opportunity to remind your team of the vision. You can do this at the end of staff meetings, in emails and in conversations with individual members.

Lead by example. Setting an example for employees to follow is one of the best ways to help them understand how to put the team vision into practice. You can do this through your hiring choices, meeting focus and daily interactions with others.

Accountability. Challenge employees to reach for the goals in your team vision statement. Likewise, hold each other accountable for issues that arise and the team’s overall success.

Working together helps empower teams, and a team vision statement supports a culture of success. With that in mind, use your vision for a team to boost collaboration, increase motivation and align individual efforts to the group’s goals.

Team vision FAQs

What is the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement?

A vision statement is aspirational, speaking to the purpose of a team and what it aspires to be. A mission statement describes how your team fulfills that vision through its processes and daily activities.

What is the difference between a vision and a strategy?

While the team’s vision sets the goal of what they want to accomplish, the strategy describes how the team intends to reach that goal. If your team’s vision is to have positive interactions with every customer, your strategy to achieve this might involve reducing wait times and producing quick resolutions.

Why is vision important for a leader?

Leadership requires support and understanding from teams and individual employees for effectiveness, and a distinctive vision that provides clear goals helps ensure success. Other reasons a well-communicated vision is important for you as a leader include:

  • Direction: As the leader, your team looks to you to make sure they’re all working toward the vision and staying on course.
  • Inspiration: The way you talk about the team’s vision and incorporate it into everything you do inspires employees to embrace the team vision and work harder to achieve it.
  • Purpose: The team vision guides those you manage toward the same goal. Examining the purpose behind each group action helps ensure that every task contributes toward the team’s vision.
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