Skillsoft Blog

Leadership Skills Training Lesson: Building a Shared Vision


Shawn Hunter



recently interviewed Nick
, CEO of Fuji Xerox Australia, who shared with me an important leadership
skills training
lesson about building a shared vision. 

poses five expectations of his managers. But before the big five, everyone
needs to be on the same page. Nick first creates a sense of shared vision with
a short collaborative exercise: with your team write the headlines and the
press release you want to see in five years.  Each should start
independently and then compare notes. In his experience, once you reconvene,
the team will immediately see intersections of vision once each person shares
their personal perspective of the future. Next build on these points of
intersection until the intended outcome becomes crystallized, shared and
sincere. In such an exercise, with gentle non-intrusive guidance from senior
leadership, the vision quickly becomes one of shared construction. Everyone had
a part in the vision creation.

at this point that a senior leader can build upon a shared vision to deliver
the five great actionable expectations of managers:

: Take the lead.  Leading the
change toward the shared vision will entail taking chances, and that needs to
be expected. Make it clear that you expect both risk and tolerable failure –
above the waterline failure. Above the waterline means the scope of the risk,
and potential downside, remains above the waterline and unable to sink the

on Principle
: The second expectation is
that the initiatives and correlating risk and behavior is founded in the values
and integrity of the team and organization. It should be abundantly clear that
risk and initiative is expected and always safe if executed in full faith of
the team’s articulated values. In Nick’s case at Fuji Xerox, their mandate is
that business initiatives should be servant to What is Good for People (to be
an employer of choice), Good for Planet, and Good for Profit (their target is
80% recurrent business).

: On the path to innovation
and value development, the best managers continue to build company capability.
Be it new solution options for customers, new tweaks to the delivery code… In
Nick’s case, as the General Manager of a global Fortune 500 company, his vision
includes gestating new leading capability, which can be tested on a regional
basis and then elevated to a global community of solutions.

Clear About What Is Not Changing
People need to understand there are solid underpinnings upon which we base our
change initiatives – the rock-solid things we can count on. It’s fine to
emphasize bold decision-making on the frontiers of growth but people need to
understand they are indeed supported by sound business integrity, and team

: Make it clear we reward execution and
results. Period. After the values talk, the engagement and collaboration
emphasis, it must be clear that since we are the owners of our destiny,
execution becomes the highest expectation and reward of valued managers,
business owners, and contributors.

Nick reminds us that these expectations require continual renewal – it’s
not a one-shot exercise and conversation.  Nick is one of the best EchoLeaders
around – one who has found his own voice, recognizes his strengths, and builds
powerful echoes within his team.  Echoes only sustain when reinforced.

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