To Lead, Create a Shared Vision

Harvard business review january 2009

In the January 2009 issue of the Harvard Business Review is a short Forethought piece on the importance of leaders creating vision: To Lead, Create a Shared Vision.

James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner emphasize the important of leaders creating vision for their organization and develop a forward-looking capacity. But rather than leaders thinking that they themselves need to be the visionary, the authors think it is more important to get input from the people in your organization to develop the vision.

Too many leaders act as “emissaries from the future, delivering the news of how their markets and organizations will be transformed.” Instead, “constituents want visions of the future that reflect their own aspirations. They want to hear how their dreams will come true and their hopes will be fulfilled.” The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them in the present.

What does this mean for compliance?

When putting together and maintaining your compliance program, you need to seek input from as many people as possible. It is too late to get buy-in after the policy is already drafted. Send early drafts to a wide population of the organization for review and comment. They may surprise you by pointing out weaknesses and ambiguity in the policy draft.

By sending drafts, you also emphasize the importance of the policy and its existence.  Many studies have shown that people need to be exposed to a policy several times before they can even remember that it exists. Circulating drafts can accomplish some of that information awareness.