Have you ever seen when people are trying to walk together and one turns right and the other turns left. Either they pull apart or bump into each other. Both outcomes do not make for easy walking. The same is true with a Relationship in which the Vision that has been cast is just not quite the same. The organizations begin to move in different directions and there is either a pulling apart or a bumping around that occurs in the Relationship. Let me start with a story that illustrates the problem and then give you ways to avoid such.
Casting Different Visions:
Lisa is the Vice President of Human Resource Development for LiveTeach, Inc., a very successful training organization. They specialize in providing seminar format teaching events to companies on all sorts of topics. They have highly skilled instructors who work with various subject matter experts to develop materials that are then sold as training modules to corporations for their executive training programs. Randy is the CEO of LiveTeach, Inc.
Jill is the CEO of Imperial Value, Inc, an organization that specializes in the management of cash flow for organizations, including the training of people throughout an organization on budgetary and cash flow considerations. Companies who have undergone their training have seen a positive impact to their bottom line of over 12% in the first year through better expense management and operational efficiencies. Charles is the Senior VP of Strategic Accounts for Imperial Value.
Randy and Jill have known each other for some time. At Randy’s request, Jill has spoken at several corporate functions at LiveTeach. After one such event, Randy and Jill discussed how uniquely effective the materials of Imperial Value were for those that used them. Randy and Jill decided that they would form a Relationship and that LiveTeach would use Imperial Value’s materials as the resource sold to corporations in search of training modules on expense management and cash flow. LiveTeach would private label the materials as all their materials are sold under the same brand.
Jill returned to Imperial Value and informed Charles of the decision to form a Relationship with LiveTeach. Randy returned to LiveTeach and informed Lisa of the decision to form a relationship with Imperial Value. As the operating teams lead by Charles and Lisa worked together, it was more and more clear that LiveTeach had no intention of private labeling the materials from Imperial Value. They were going to use parts of them and develop their own private offering using the materials from Imperial Value as an unnamed source and one that was not paid a license or royalty.
Jill and Randy had conveyed the vision to Charles and Lisa, respectively. However, Randy had not effectively conveyed the same vision to Lisa that Jill had to Charles and her organization. The visions were similar, but not the same.
Some of the issue was that the culture within LiveTeach was to always modify the materials from the subject matter experts. Furthermore, Lisa happened to have a background in finance and was quite adept at cash flow analysis. She felt that her own knowledge, combined with several other experts would be a good mix with the Imperial Value resources. Lisa wasn’t going directly against Randy. The exclusive, licensed, and paid for full use nature of the relationship had not been understood by Lisa. After 6 months of meetings that ended with strain on the part of all parties, the disconnect in Vision became known.
Avoiding the problem of “different visions”:
There are 2 steps that can be taken to avoid the issue of the operating teams of the organization receiving different visions or different versions of the same vision.
First, is to have the Executive Sponsor simulcast the Vision. What I mean by “simulcast” is to have them either physically or virtually present the Vision at the same time to their organizations or leaders of their operating teams. This is particularly difficult to accomplish in larger organizations or in organizations which have a low Geographic Proximity to each other. We’ll discuss this “Geographic Proximity” in more detail in future blogs.
Second, which should always be done even if the Executive Sponsors simulcast the Vision, is to write down the Vision. Writing a Vision statement was mentioned in earlier blogs. However, let me emphasize, it is in the process of committing a Vision to paper that allows it to become clear. This written vision can then be provided to the organizations for initial understanding and later reference. Sending out a copy of the written Vision under the signature of both Executive Sponsors is a good way to tie a bow around the Vision.
There are many ways that a Vision can be misinterpreted. However, starting with the same Vision, written down and cast to the organizations at the same time, is one of the best ways to ensure the same Vision is cast and that it is also understood.