Inspire A Shared Vision

"A vision brings people to places they have never been before. A shared vision makes people permanent residents there." - Dr. Peter Cheng

Research by Posner and Kouzes shows that inspiring a shared vision is one of the exemplary leadership practices that enlists employees. A vision alone is not powerful enough to sustain an employee’s engagement with it. A shared vision, though, is able to create strong commitment from their side.

How to Inspire a Shared Vision? 

There is no clear pathway to the future, what lies before you is still uncharted territory. Think of yourself as an explorer, equipped with skills and experiences that make you prepared for tackling upcoming challenges. Which areas do you want to explore? What do you want to achieve? Imagine all the opportunities that are in store for you and your employees.

A shared vision includes the following five components:

1. Ideal

Your vision should be painting an ideal future state. Rather than being realistic, your vision is made up of exciting possibilities, hopes and aspirations. Don’t let thoughts like ‘we can’t reach X’ or ‘we’re don’t have enough of Y to be able to do Z’ drag your vision down. You really want to think big here.

2. Unique

Envision a future that no-one and no organisation yet has reached. Think different, think extraordinary. Have the courage to stand out and be distinct from others.

3. Image

Envision your future desired state in pictures. Create metaphors, examples and stories around this vision. How will people feel when you reach this state? What will they say and do? Describing your vision as a mental picture is a powerful way to communicate it to your employees.

4. Future-oriented

Your vision is about the future, describing the exciting and ennobling possibilities of your imagination. Stretch your thoughts beyond the present and beyond the things you imagine possible.

Most importantly, your shared vision is about including your employees, hearing their aspirations and striving towards a common-good:

5. Common-good

Your shared vision is meant to be a way in which you come together with your employees. Involve them in the visioning process by asking about their hopes and aspirations, having dialogues about exciting and ennobling possibilities that await you. In the end you need to make it clear to them how their aspirations are fulfilled by living out this vision.

Envision your future desired state by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities. Make sure to incorporate all five characteristics into your vision. Enlist your employees into a common vision, by appealing to shared aspirations. Help them see the bigger picture, engage them and spark their excitement with the envisioned future state. 

Do you know the aspirations of your employees?


Inspiring a Shared Vision is one of the exemplary leadership practices of The Leadership Challenge®.

The Leadership Challenge® workshop is recognised worldwide as one of the most practical models of leadership development. Send your leaders on The Leadership Challenge® today and see them contribute to raising employee engagement!

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