Emotional engagement, a key to delivering your Vision (part 1)
We’ve already heard from Ty Francis, Annette Franz & Kevin Watson on the topic of vision. Now, I’m pleased to welcome Tony Boobier into this conversation. Readers may recall that Tony has previously shared his advice on listening, communicating bad news & innovation.
In this series of two posts, Tony considers the more personal nature of a vision and the role emotion plays. He explores emotion at play in identifying your personal vision & how it engages others with such a quest. Over to Tony to share more…
Vision in most businesses
In a business context, we often think of a vision as relating to some form of a strategic plan or business imperative.
“In ten years,” we say to ourselves and the team, “the company will look like this“. We often describe this as a ‘vision statement’. Ideally, all the associated performance metrics of an organisation should align with the achievement of this vision. In such a case, the ‘vision’ is a business mechanism, usually as part of a Return on Investment promise. It reassures investors regarding the direction and ambition of the company
But isn’t having a true ‘vision’ something which is much more personal in nature?
Vision in other parts of your life
There are many examples of the idea of having a vision or purpose. Most religious organisations embrace ‘vision’ as a concept which emotionally bonds their followers. Usually promising a better life in the hereafter. Sports teams and their supporters have a different type of vision, usually that of winning a trophy or being promoted. One which provides their supporters with a unifying purpose. At an individual level, an athlete’s personal vision may be to stand on the podium with an Olympic Gold medal.
Having a vision seems therefore to be something much more important than just having a ten-year-plan.
Having vision or purpose at a personal level can take many forms.
- It may be a way of becoming commercially successful and ultimately affording the lifestyle that an individual desires. In that case, the vision is more likely that of the lifestyle, rather than just commercial success.
- For others, that personal vision may be one of peer recognition. Being formally recognised by the accolade of an award. Perhaps success for those is measured by how many people know your name.
- Or perhaps it may be a way of improving the lives of others. This type of vision might be through a tangible improvement in customer service or the creation of a new product. In the case of a charitable organisation or NGO, the vision could be that of improving the way of life of an individual or a whole community lives. Even in an altruistic situation, it might be to create a work of art which advances the culture within society.
Emotional engagement with your vision
In my opinion, if a leader has a ‘vision’ or ‘purpose’, then it has to be a personal thing. Something with which they – and ultimately their team – can emotionally connect.
For me, ‘Emotional Engagement‘ is a key element in delivering a successful vision or purpose.
‘Emotion’ is often described as a sensation which comes from how we feel, how we engage with others or how we respond to a set of circumstances. It provides us with an instinctive or intuitive feeling about what we need to do.
My own emotional engagement journey
My own personal emotional vision arose when I was in my early 30’s. Over three decades ago, I was working as a young insurance claims inspector. I attended a house fire where the building was gutted. All the contents were destroyed. The owners were left in the street, it was late at night and they were left with only the clothes and possessions that they were wearing at the time of the outbreak.
In those days, over 30 years ago, the insurance industry was very responsive in nature. But I wondered if there was some way that it could be more proactive in how we dealt with such matters. Could we find them emergency accommodation? How could we take the burden away from them by directly arranging for, and paying for, the repairs?
That approach or ‘vision’ set me on a career trail which was to influence my professional decisions for over a decade. Alongside other likeminded people, it has resulted in many of the insurance processes we see today.
Oddly enough, even after all these years, when I hear of the process going wrong I almost still take it personally!
Emotional engagement – are you doing that?
Many thanks to Tony for sharing that & being so personally open. Great role modelling of his point.
What about you? Are you sure that your vision is truly personal? Is it your vision? What about the role of emotion, does it grab you? Can you feel the emotional connection that Tony describes? Do your team buy-in emotionally, or do you just have rational consent?
If you have engaged with the challenge of emotionally engaging your team with a vision, please share what you have learned. Is what helps a data or analytics team connect emotionally different from other types of teams? Feel free to either share your views in the comment boxes below or on social media. I look forward to continuing this conversation in part 2.