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You may not realize it, but as a manager you must often serve as a navigator. You set the course for your sales team, or for your department. You set a course for yourself. You help your staff set their courses individually, and within the team context. You are constantly navigating. You map your territories, chart steps to take, sample the conditions, correct others who have strayed off course, and try to reach destinations determined for you, in large part, by the company.

The course the company takes is largely determined by its vision, just as the course we take in life as individuals is determined by our personal vision. When personal visions and goals are in alignment with team visions and goals as well as company visions and goals, a powerful synergy is created throughout the company. Part of what you have the power to do as a manager is to work to shape your vision, the vision of those on your staff, and the vision of the company in a way that gives meaning to the goals you work to set.

Know your company's vision. A vision is different from goals or a mission. It expresses a view of what could be.  The vision, and sharing the vision, can motivate and inspire us to reach our goals.

Determine your company's vision, and share that vision with your staff. This creates a context in which company goals make personal sense to employees, which in turn is a powerful motivating dynamic.

Allow yourself to dream. Dream about what could be. Your dreams can be pie-in-the-sky, personal, professional, or familial. Take a few deep breaths, and allow your mind to relax. Dream about your staff, and your team as a whole. Start with what is, but then move to thoughts about what could be. In your dream world, there is no analyst or critical judge. Don't think of your team as a realist would. There are no negatives, only possibilities.  What ideas present themselves to you? What would you like to see?

Involve everyone who might be affected.   A leader with a vision needs to share that vision with everyone who will be affected by it. The navigator informs the crew. The crew knows the destination. They are then empowered with the capacity to share in the pursuit of the vision, and the attainment of the goals.

Establish a plan of action to achieve the vision.   It is possible to move what is closer to what could be ­ but not alone and not without a plan. The last step in visioning is to establish a plan of action.  Develop the goals that give life and action to the vision. Here is where leader and follower are joined in their commitment to the vision. 

Think about how your personal vision and goals fit with the vision and goals of your company.  It is a good fit, or a forced fit?  The best fit is when your vision coalesces with the company's vision. When your achieving your goals helps the company achieve its goals, synergy is created. Imagine what would happen if the vision of each team member coalesced with your vision for the team? What if their goals led to attainment of your goals?

If you were to set out to make some or all of your visions become a reality, what goals would you set to get there, in the real world?

We have taken a new look at setting the course, at navigating towards company, team and personal goals. We have seen that the most meaningful and vibrant goals grow out of clear visions of what could be, our skillful dreaming about possibilities. Every vision should be shared with everyone who is affected by it. Leading and following go hand-in-glove between those who are committed to a shared vision. This creates a much more powerful commitment than just being committed to a person, or to one's self and one's income.  And, it leads to the development of a plan, including meaningful goals which advance the vision toward reality.


Excerpted from Sandler's Strategic Sales Management program, ©1997, 1998 by Sandler Systems, Inc. All rights reserved

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