We live in a world where we can't get everything we want--there are tradeoffs at every turn.
One such tradeoff to be made regards Vision. How much effort, time and resources should a manager commit to getting everyone on the team--literally--to completely buy in to a vision vs. just decreeing his or her vision?
In his excellent book The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge walks the manager through some important issues to balance when building a vision to motivate others (and I'm using the term "manager" loosely here to define anyone that is managing a project with others, even if s/he doesn't set their salary). Some of the great points he makes are:
- A vision should define an ultimate goal to achieve.
- "Shared vision[s]"--that is, those that every individual are earnestly committed to--are generally more effective than those that one person comes up with and imposes on the rest.
- Shared visions allow individuals to experiment, creatively deal with novel problems, and adapt without the manager having to make those detailed decisions all of the time.
- The process of building the vision and of individuals wrestling with how they view the vision is as important as the end vision itself.
- At the end of the day, you can't coerce and force someone to follow you--they have to choose.
But, Senge makes a strong case for involving as many people as possible in the vision-development process. "Shared visions," he rightly points out, "emerge form personal visions" . Senge puts a lot of the emphasis on the manager involving everyone (or as many people as makes sense) in the process.
This leads to the inevitable question of: "Everyone? Really? What if there are 50 people on my team--or 10,000 in the organization? There are high opportunity costs involved, right?"
This brings us to tradeoffs. For visions, who needs to be involved and to what extent.
My personal opinion is that in MBM, we tackle that problem from two ends. We want the manager to feel compelled to build a shared vision where possible, but we also want the employee to feel compelled to understand and buy into the vision, if it matches their personal visions. The "Science of Human Action Chart" in The Science of Success breaks down each Dimension to the individual level; for Vision, it suggest that we understand our goals and comparative advantages, and how each of us can create the greatest value for ourselves, our organizations and society. To do so, understanding the vision of the place we spend 8-10 hours a day in is likely important.