By Scott Seagren
How does an organization, partnership or executive team create an effective, compelling and common vision? The answer lies in a simple formula: ME-YOU-WE. Creating the room or container that allows this formula to breathe life into a vision statement takes artful facilitation by an outside facilitator.
Why is it important to hire an outside facilitator? When you’re a member of a team, you listen to your coach more intently than you listen to a teammate. It’s a silly thing really, but it’s true. Experienced facilitators can say things nobody else can say. They are trained to let all voices be heard and to hold an atmosphere that allows for healthy conflict, respectful dialogue and positive intent to thrive. For a CEO or leader to try facilitating a common vision conversation is simply confusing to both the leader and the team.
The formula I use is “ME-YOU-WE.” It begins with a respectful unearthing of the individual ideas in the room so that each participant understands what is internally important. We do this unconsciously, and having a facilitated session focused solely on one’s self or “ME” helps to articulate one’s values, beliefs and behaviors.
The second portion is what all of us would like to get better at but don’t really know how: to be a better listener — the “YOU” part. This is where deep democracy, or the allowance of all voices to have a piece of the truth, not all of it, is honored. Being encouraged to listen with curiosity and un-tethered fascination to your colleagues allows collaboration to begin. It is a paradigm shift for most leaders to begin listening more than they speak and pivotal for a common vision to emerge.
The third portion is devoted to the “WE” in team. We’re led to believe in most relationships that compromise or consensus is the best we can hope for in our conversations. But the system itself also has a wisdom that, mostly out of ignorance, is rarely acknowledged. It is where the brilliance and the heart of the team is allowed to speak what it knows and wants.
Going through this process with a team of any size allows for a powerful, common vision to come to light that everyone can fully claim as their own. It then drives alignment to the bottom line in every department and division. Imagine what might be different in your company or organization if you were to hire an independent, masterful facilitator to help you develop a highly effective, common-purpose driven team.
Vistage Facilitator/Coach Scott Seagren is a trusted advisor to successful business and organization leaders who are committed to developing a satisfying, highly productive culture and workforce. He is passionate about helping people find mindful solutions to personal and business issues and guiding conversations that otherwise aren’t taking place. As a certified professional coach, mediator and facilitator, Scott’s partners with companies both large and small to develop dynamic leaders equipped to meet today’s rapidly changing environment. He brings his background in the fast-paced world of commodities trading and financial services to the table every day, helping shift chaos into creative opportunity and inspiring people to lead from their core values.
Originally published: Jan 19, 2012