The Lost Lesson of Sharing: How to Bring Commitment Back to Your Organization-Part II

The Lost Lesson of Sharing: How to Bring Commitment Back to Your Organization-Part 2

What does a hotel room, party house and the condition of an apartment the day after a lease is up have in common? They often are the target of neglectful behavior-people tend to treat things that don’t belong to them differently than those things that do-it’s human nature. It is no different when speaking of the care and ownership of an organization. People that view the organization belonging to “them” instead of “us” care for it accordingly. The lesson here is for leaders of organizations to engage their employees in a way that creates a sense of ownership, where “their” organization becomes “our” organization. Part One of this article spoke to the importance of shared vision as a means of securing higher commitment and engagement in a highly competitive market.

Part 1 Recap:

To recap, Peter Senge defined shared vision as “a vision that people are truly connected to because it reflects their own personal vision” and personal vision is “rooted in an individual’s own set of values, concerns, and aspirations (1990, p.206-211).
In order to create organizational shared vision, leaders must:
•Clarify their own personal vision
•Hire people who share the organization’s vision
•Create opportunities to elicit feedback from employees (which included the practice of Appreciative Inquiry).

Part 2 will further discuss tools for eliciting feedback in order to create shared vision. Ascending from the lofty clouds of idealism and on to the solid ground of application, there are a few tricks of the trade that I have learned that enable lofty dreams to become a reality.

Learn What Motivates People
Practicing Appreciative Inquiry (AI) on a regular basis begins to shift the relationship of leaders and followers from transactional to transformational. Instead of communication traveling from the top down, communication and ideas to take the organizational to the next level become a lateral exchange.

I came across two different research studies conducted about motivation. In his book Drucker on Leadership, Cohen (2010) identifies ten factors, six of which contain a golden thread: people desire to connect with their organizations, to have opportunities to contribute their ideas, and to grow and develop.  In the YouTube video The Surprising Truth about What Motivates People” Daniel Pink reveals that results of a global study.  The top three motivators are: (1) Autonomy-self direction (2) Mastery-progressing in a skill and (3) Purpose-focus on significance versus profits. Leaders have historically sought to motivate workers with job security, higher pay, and benefits. While these factors may get someone in the door (and keep them in a more insecure economy), they are not the factors that create commitment and engagement.  What is the significance of this research? People want to see their unique fingerprints on the vision of the organization.  It’s a win-win for both leaders and followers. Leaders have people who are motivated and engaged in solutions to further the organization and followers are experiencing the pride of ownership, taking care of something as if it was their own.

Help Others Clarify Their Personal Visions

In graduate school, I was introduced to Vision Boards. Creating a Vision Board consists of selecting images and words from magazines that resonate with you regarding a desired future. One of the first vision boards I created included images of autonomy and freedom as I desired to leave the traditional organizational setting and transition to freelance consulting and teaching. Years later, this became my reality and now my current vision board is focused on the development of my practice.  After experiencing personal success, I have shared this tool with clients and students with equal success.  It is an effective tool for individuals, teams and organizations desiring to create a sense of shared vision.

How to Create a Vision Board

Step One: Establishing a focal point is essential to guide the process of selecting images. Here are some questions that could serve as potential focal points:  If you and your team were fulfilling their potential, what might things look like a year from now? What does team success look like? Once a focal point is chosen, images are then selected.

Step Two: Images are best chosen by flipping through magazine pages rapidly and setting a time limit. Selecting images in this fashion encourages decisions to be made from the heart and the gut, versus the head. Making decisions from the head can produce cliché images that represent societal norms of success and happiness; decisions from the heart are more likely to produce images that communicate personal passions unique to each person.  I generally establish a 20-25 min time limit for the first step of the process. I love the sound of flipping pages, paper being torn, and the silent hum of focus.

Step Three: Once images are chosen, the next step is to narrow down the selection to your favorite images. For larger images, use scissors to frame portions of the image that are most meaningful. This creates further clarity and ensures that all of your images can fit on your board. I set a 25-30 minute time limit for this portion of the exercise.

Step Four: The final step is arranging and attaching the images to the board.

Creating Shared Vision From Personal Vision
Each individual can then share their personal vision boards with their team.  Just like the classic Venn diagram, there will be an overlap in vision ideals. This is an energizing moment for a team. A board can then be assembled with the images of shared vision and it is also a great launching point for creating vision statements. To take it to the organizational wide level, each team can present their boards to other teams/departments  and create one board for the organization that represents their shared ideals. Placing the board in a visible location serves as a regular reminder of what the organization is choosing to create together.

Shared Vision and Beyond

According the Harvard Business Review only 3% of typical business leaders spend time envisioning
and yet 72% of employees surveyed listed a forward thinking leader as the second most important quality of a leader.  Leaders have the privilege and responsibility to bring back the lost art of sharing realizing the true stakeholders are those that call the organization home.  (Copyright 2013)


 Elise Boggs teaches in the MBA and Organizational Leadership programs at Chapman (Brandman) University and National University. She also owns her own coaching and consulting practice, specializing in organizational development , training and development for teams, and personal leadership coaching.

She can be contacted at

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