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Communicate a Vision to Energize Your Team


Rick SternBy Rick Stern

When you went into business for yourself as an agent, like others, you probably did so with dreams of building something big from the ground up.  At best youd achieve financial freedom someday, but in the meantime youd at least get to be your own boss.

You probably had a vision for what you wanted your new company to be when it grew up, and this concept lived happily within the confines of your head.

For a company of one, this scenario works out just fine. As any company grows, however, communicating a vision from the top down becomes one of many challenges youll face as a business owner. While a CEOs vision is a useful compass to steer a companys strategic direction, it may not be understood properly by a bookkeeper, service rep or administrative assistant without proper context and an effective communication strategy.

Teresa Amabile is a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. She and colleague Steve Kramer have conducted extensive research on what makes people creative, productive, happy and motivated at work. In a recent article they provide a simple guide for communicating vision throughout an organization.  They believe that this process comes in three steps:

  • Articulate an inspirational mission Leaders need to share the vision theyve had from the beginning, describe company goals and communicate how those goals serve both the company and its clients.
  • Ensure company-wide understanding Leaders at all levels need to ensure that the vision and goals have been received loud and clear. That means every project and every deal that comes in the door makes a contribution toward one of those goals.
  • Take it down to a tactical level Supervisors take it upon themselves to help employees understand how their individual daily actions play a role in achieving the companys goals.

More than anything else, the clear communication of vision and the ability for employees at every level to see how their job contributes to a greater goal create a sense of purpose across your company.  This pays dividends in the engagement, productivity and creativity of your team.

As you continue to grow your business, one of the most daunting challenges youll face is managing the dynamics of a group of people. Communicating a clear vision and getting everyone focused on common goals ensure that your team will be headed in the right direction.  You will find that simple, daily progress toward those goals will keep your staff engaged and energized as you grow your business.

Rick Stern is the founder and CEO of

Nitel, Inc.
, which has evolved from an agency to a master agent to a nationwide reseller. Prior to building Nitel , now listed in the Inc. 500 and recognized by Crains Chicago Business as the 5th fastest growing company in Chicago for two consecutive years, Stern cut his teeth in the telecom business as a direct sales person for Sprint and later as an agent manager at WorldCom. Stern earned a bachelors degree in telecommunications from the University of Florida and is a graduate of Harvard Business Schools Executive Education Program. He also is a member of the 2011-12 Channel Partners Conference & Expo Advisory Board.


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