After reading last month’s article on organizational visions – here is the link if you’ve missed it – you might have realized again the importance of creating one. But creating a vision is only one part of the challenge. The other part is holding on to your vision. The following scenario happens a lot in organizations and teams:

You’ve created your vision. You are excited about it. And it is as clear in your mind as a Van Gogh picture.

However, after presenting your vision to your team, Ann – who has been with the organization for almost 10 years – approaches you. She is quite direct and tells you that she doesn’t like the vision. Main reason is they have tried something like your vision before and failed miserably. She’s convinced that you won’t succeed. She gets emotional.

Driving home Ann’s comments keep coming back in your mind. You like Ann. She’s a hard worker, committed, and her fear seems to be so genuine. Maybe you should change your vision a bit. Why not? The bottom line of the vision won’t be changed. You can’t afford to lose her.

A few days later, Paul comes to you with a novel idea. Paul had a meeting with his staff. They discussed the vision and his employees thought of this new idea. The vision would be changes just a tiny bit. And all the employees would embrace the new vision. Well, as a matter of fact, you DON’T want to change anything. But the change that Paul is suggesting will make those employees come along. That would be a big win. So, you agree to make an exception and do things slightly different for that group of employees.

And then another person comes along and says, …

Well, you get the picture of this scenario. Sooner than later you realize that your “to be” organization is contorted. Your “Van Gogh” picture of the organization has turned into a “Picasso.” That’s a beautiful organizational picture but not the one you had envisioned for the organization. To make yourself feel better, you think, “Well, each change process is an organic process.” That doesn’t help.

It didn’t happen because you don’t know how to realize that vision. You know how to do that.

So, why did it change? Aren’t you the one who guards the realization of the vision, the future of your organization?

It changes because pleasing employees is a huge temptation. Pleasing employees and your own fear go hand in hand.

When pleasing pops up its ugly head, you need to be the leader. You stick to your vision and you go full speed in realizing your “Van Gogh”. That’s the reason why you have this position in the organization in the first place: to guide the organization into a great future. It’s up to you to lead your employees away from a less desirable artwork.

Some tips on how to do that:

The real reason

1 – Changing your vision before realizing it might be a wise thing to do. The leading question is, “What makes you want to change your vision?”

A lot of reasons are valid. Fear and pleasing employees are not.

2 – Keep the end result of your vision visible

You have a picture of what your organization will look like after realizing your vision. Keep that picture upfront. Connect each important and not so important decision to that picture and if it doesn’t fit, make another decision.

3 – Communicate the vision over and over again.

Some leaders get so tired of hearing themselves communicating the vision that they stop doing so. Don’t do that. It’s a good sign that you’re tired of the communication. That shows that you’ve been active in communicating your vision.

Coaching question of this month:

How do you stick to your vision?