Archives For shared vision

We hear about viAlice_door copysion, mission statements and values often enough, but why are they so important? Similar to Alice unsuccessfully trying to open the door to Wonderland, you must have the right keys to shape your company’s culture and reflect what you stand for.  They are the essence of your identity as an organization – your principles, beliefs, philosophies… and how you do business. Woven into the fabric of its culture, every work environment should strive to encourage positive values and discourage negative influences that affect behavior and outcomes. We all possess a moral compass, defined via our values, which directs how we treat others and conduct ourselves. As an organization, this can be a powerful tool to shape culture. Ultimately, it does not come back to the company, but its people…

Arguably self-awareness and integrity are an important subset of values, but self-awareness and the pursuit of the truth are so important that they should be on every company’s list of values. If integrity is best described by C.S. Lewis as “doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching,” having the ability to be completely honest about your own strengths, weaknesses, and biases is critical. In developing an authentic, sustainable culture this applies not only to the leadership team, but to every single employee. Self-awareness and integrity are easy to lose… and hard to win back. When cultures are failing there are root causes that must be identified, but that can rarely be fixed quickly – and certainly not by policy and procedural changes. During challenging times, leaders tend want to drink from the blue bottle and — ta da! – see that the company culture is fixed. Unfortunately, building, evolving and transforming cultures takes both time and hard work.

Here are 6 core “keys” that will help you to build toward an amazing organizational culture:

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The power of virtual teams to respond quickly to corporate challenges, pooling both broad and deep expertise, has become an important key to corporate success. However, to get the most from the vast experience, knowledge and perspective of dispersed team members, you need to use the strength of a vision to bring the team together, leveraging the opportunity to ensure that every person fully understands and embraces their purpose and the role they (as well as those of their team mates) play in organizational success.

In an environment where team members do not have the luxury of interacting face to face, creating a living, breathing shared vision is the solid foundation on which to build a sound structure.  A “virtual” vision serves several purposes:  1) It forces the team to collaborate to evaluate its fundamental attributes and characteristics as a dispersed unit 2) It establishes boundaries that guide strategy and 3) the vision establishes implicit expectations and standards of performance.

A vision for dispersed teams will also:

  • Provide focus and energy for overcoming traditional corporate cultures that promote a “HQ is best” mentality
  • Encourage people to shift from a nationalistic or functional culture to a global perspective
  • Compel new ways of thinking and acting… as a global entity
  • Provide a roadmap to keep the virtual team on course when tempted to regress toward old habits
  • Create a powerful commitment to inspire team members to commit to accomplishing things that matter deeply to them – the vision becomes personal and creates a “third” culture.
  • Facilitate change, promoting the acceptance of collaborative thinking.

When creating a vision for a virtual team, consider some key factors:


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Global leaders everywhere are now realizing how critical global teams are to future competitiveness and overall productivity. The power of global teams to respond expeditiously to corporate challenges has become a key component to a company’s ultimate ability to succeed in demanding and constantly evolving environments. Despite knowing the reality of today’s networked-style global organization, very few have successfully developed and leveraged global teams. Although they are consistently seen as essential for global prosperity, these teams are left to fail more often than their success is facilitated. The reality is that global teams generally have more talent and potential than other types of teams by sheer force of their diversity. Yet this potential is often squandered because of an innate inability of both the team and the organization to harness the power of the global team. It is essential that corporations begin to break down the complexities of global teams and facilitate an understanding of the challenges inherent to the concept – successfully creating and deploying global teams is one of the most significant business challenges of this century.

As an individual strives to become an Extreme Global Leader, s/he will come to realize that people, across boundaries and borders, will determine whether or not s/he wins at the great game of business. Made up of people, global teams are the modus operandi for getting things done in organizations – and within global organizations there is a critical requirement for global teams. One can attempt to build an exceptional, culturally diverse team by design and by talent, but will likely fail. One may put together a team of specialists from across the various regions, but that will not create what is needed to ultimately win. Performance depends on both individual excellence and on how well the team works together across their disparate locations and functions. “Alignment” emerges when, despite culturally diverse backgrounds, a group of people understands the unique value of each player and leverages that value to function as a cohesive, global whole. When a global team becomes aligned, a commonality of direction emerges, and individual efforts synchronize with the whole. Synergy evolves – there is commonality of purpose, a shared global vision, and an inherent understanding of how to leverage one another’s talents – despite disparate cultures and functions. Alignment is the “X Factor” of global teams, making them Extreme.

Exceptional team development across boundaries and borders is the process of aligning and developing the capacity of the team to create the winning results. It builds on the discipline of developing shared vision. It also builds on personal mastery: talented teams are made up of talented individuals. But the bottom line is that shared vision and talent are not enough to create an Extreme Global Team. The world is full of talented teams who share a vision for a while, yet they fail to learn and grow together, and ultimately fail to win. Extreme sports champions have talent and a shared vision, but what really matters is that the team knows how to play together – Extreme Teams in organizations are no different.

There has never been a greater need for the development of Extreme Teams in global organizations than there is today – yet they are not common, and even more rare, successful. A significant portion of important global decisions are now made in teams –  directly or through the need for teams to translate individual decisions into global organizational actions. If global teams are developed with the focus and intent on learning to excel as a cohesive unit, organizational insights are gained that can be translated into exceptional results. Skills are developed that can propagate and motivate other teams to be exceptional across the organization and across the world. Most of all, the Extreme Team’s accomplishments can set the tone  and establish a standard of excellence for the larger organization, across boundaries and borders.

The power to link and leverage, as well as to move and manipulate resources, enables organizations to provide superior products and services at a lower cost that will quickly overwhelm competitors who do not use global teams effectively. Aligned global teams exponentially increase competitive advantage as they will attract the best talent, create and develop the best products and services, and ultimately attract the best, and most loyal, customers. Are YOU building an Extreme Team?

You can contact me at or by visiting our website at Check back next Thursday for the next installation  of Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders.