People are much more likely to follow someone who knows where they are going. So, as a leader, how do you let people know where you are going? You do this by creating and communicating your vision for the future.
You may be the CEO of the company or a team leader. So, when I say "create and communicate your vision for the future," this is for the part of the organization under your span of control - so if you are the CEO, then it is for the entire organization. If you are a team leader, then it is for your team and perhaps how you interact with other teams, shifts, or departments.
So, where to start? There are two places you can begin to when creating your vision. If you are visionary, you are probably already thinking about the future, the results and impact you could have, and changes you see in the marketplace, and how you want to improve to be more fit for the future competitive marketplace. So, if you are visionary, then start with the future state results, outcomes, impact, and then work your way back to how the organization will need to perform in the future to achieve those outcomes. Finally, put all of this in the context of how you are performing today and the results you are getting today, so you can begin to quantify and name the gaps that need to be prioritized and closed.
Your second option, if you aren't feeling particularly visionary, is to start with the current state results - what outcomes are you getting today - in the context of the market, the competition, customer expectations, or technological advances- so framed in the larger ecosystem that you play in and the trends that you see shaping the competitive landscape in the next few years. Then, describe how the organization is performing today - and be complimentary about this - you haven't yet set the hook for a better future outcome, so there is no logical reason to perform differently or better yet. Next, you will start to imagine future state results that you could achieve - these could be incremental results or more significant results toward which you would be excited to lead. Then, capture how the organization will need to perform in the future to achieve these results. Finally, you will draw comparisons and quantify gaps between the current and future state performance requirements to identify where to start.
Once you have put all of these content pieces together - Future State Results, Future State Performance, Current State Results, Current State Performance, then you will want to start by describing the future state in aspirational and challenging language - a challenge worth meeting and what it will take to get there, and why it is critical for future success in light of the market trends or competitive threats. I often see leaders who start by discussing the changes they want to make before they have shared and gotten buy-in that there is a better future to be had. When you communicate that change is required before anchoring people on a better future outcome, then it sounds like criticism and "you are doing it wrong." Again, talk about the future, and get people to buy-in. Then you can ask them - "so if that is where we are going, what do you think would need to change to get there?" Be ready to listen and write. You have now enrolled your people in moving out of the status quo and moving collectively toward a better future state. You have created followers - not of you, necessarily, but followers and contributors to an imaginable, better future that you are leading toward. They now know where you are going and can decide if following you there is in their best interest. You can download a simple form that can guide you through this process by clicking here.