Part 2: Everyone Unifies Relationships, Performance and Morale toward a shared vision

Part 1 discussed the importance of concentrating the entire organization on supporting front line performance and delivery in a way that front line folks have the very best performance so that customers can have the very best products, services and experiences. That is the effort. What about the unity?

Having a shared vision is essential. A vision is the one place everyone moves toward in different ways. The vision unifies the organization. The best way to unify toward a shared vision is to have a vision statement that is easy for everyone to remember. A great vision statement should:

• Reflect that the organization is the best or among the best at what it does
• Be beyond the current state
• Be focused on the product or service recipient
• Be concise and one sentence or less and easy to remember
• Be embraced by all
• Be measurable: If it uses terms like great, or world class or the best, find out what that means for your organization by either comparing it to other organizations that are similar to yours or by originating the definition yourself
• Be stated in the present tense

If the organizational vision statement is created by the CEO, the superintendent, the director or the principal, that leader takes a chance on whether everyone else in the organization will embrace it. It becomes his/her vision rather than 'our' vision. When you hear phrases like the “superintendent’s vision” or the “CEO’s vision”, that is a sign to find out whether the vision is embraced by the rest of the organization. The best way to establish an organizational vision statement is to include a cross section of people at every level especially frontline folks. When every employee in the organization has been represented in establishing a vision statement, they feel empowered and take pride in making 'our' vision a reality.

Here are some examples:

• We are masters at providing breakthrough learning experiences for forward movement and forward improvement (T.A.L.K. Associates)
• A world-class school developing world-class students (Harlan Elementary School)
• The world’s leading provider of hospitality services (Marriott International)

An organization’s quest should be to make the vision a reality rather than just a noble try. If your organization says that it is “world-class”, the first thing you want to do is to find out what ‘world-class’ means then proceed to make world-class a reality. If your organization says that it is the “model”, then determine what it means to be the ‘model’, then proceed at making your organization the model for everyone else in that field to follow. How will you know when your vision is a reality? When your customers say that it is!

Unity of Effort: The RPM Framework for Forward Movement and Forward Improvement

The combination of Concentrating on frontline delivery and Unifying around a shared vision yields one of the RPM frameworks called Unity of Effort. The Unity of Effort framework can be used for long term organizational success, from retaining great employees to implementing and executing strategic plans. It includes:

• Customer satisfaction/success
• High performance delivery
• Leadership Consistency
• The Relationships, Performance and Morale for all of the above

A Unity of Effort framework requires a leadership consistency that enables an environment for Unity of Effort to thrive. Leaders become adept at coordinating leadership practices in ways that are driven in the direction of the customer. For example, getting answers to the core questions (see part 1) helps them to more easily make organizational decisions or adjustments.

Recently, one of my clients hired a new employee; we’ll call her Sue. Sue showed excellent promise. However, after one month she wanted to resign. The ‘Unity of Effort’ savvy manager realized the impact of recruiting, hiring and training another employee compared to asking a simple question, “What support do you need to continue working for us?” The manager got the answer. Sue said, “I need adequate training about my job. I need to know what to do and how to react when I’m faced with…” She went on to explain in detail the unique situations that she had encountered in the month that she had been working there. After that conversation, the manager arranged for Sue to receive additional training in the areas that she expressed she needed more strength. Sue stayed and is now more confident in her role within the organization.

The Unity of Effort framework equipped the manager to know what question to ask and to get the answer possibly saving thousands of dollars and months of recruiting, interviewing and rehiring someone to replace an already excellent choice. That core question had an impact on the RPM’s experienced by the new employee. It helped to keep the RPM CUPS full.

The core question, “What support do you need to…?” is vital when an organization is considering changes of any kind. However, even if the decision has already been made, ask the core questions and get the answers anyway. By doing so, you may get information that could show the necessity to make an adjustment that will keep frontline delivery as good, or better than it already is. Your question could make a positive difference in relationships, performance or morale, making you like oil to an engine, keeping the system working smoothly (Smooth OpS). Additionally, asking and answering the core questions could lead to significant cost advantages while still keeping your workforce intact. When Unity of Effort is combined with our other signature program, CONSISTENT POSITIVE DIRECTION, it becomes even more effective.

Parts 3 and 4 will cover Positioning RPMs in a Consistent Positive Direction and Sustaining an RPM Climate of Interaction for customer-focused success.

Author's Bio: 

J. Bert Freeman is the Founder of T.A.L.K. Associates. As a Positive Direction Speaker, facilitator and coach, he has provided expert assistance to organizations and individuals in different areas of organizational unity of effort, leadership consistency and diversity since 1982. “Bert” is the originator of the RPM frameworks and the author of Taking Charge of Your Positive Direction (2006). J. Bert Freeman and T.A.L.K. Associates have been providing expert assistance to organizations for years in these matters of organizational unity of effort.

J. Bert Freeman is also a positive direction speaker and a member of the National Speakers Association. He has a reputation for practicing his signature work, "Consistent Positive Direction" that he teaches, both “on and off the stage”. Uniquely, T.A.L.K. Associates is the only organization development and professional development company whose facilitators use the language, skills and approaches of Consistent Positive Direction in everything that they do.

He has a B.S. in Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.S. in Human Relations from Golden Gate University. He was also a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team at Munich and the 1972 U.S. National Champion.