The Path from Vision to Execution

Published: March 6, 2018

Another change has been announced. The team is still reeling from the last transition. The new future, while visionary, may not have factored in the view from the ground level. The team will be asked to achieve ambitious goals crafted by colleagues in a boardroom. How do we make it real? Everyone has a role.

Healthy teams have a thread running from vision to execution. Goals need strategy. Strategy requires tactics. Tactics dictate action. Action demands accountability. Accountability forces timelines. Timelines inform measurement. Each teammate needs to know where they fit in this series of challenges:

Where are we going (vision)?

While all voices may not be equal, every teammate a voice in the direction of the team.

How should we get there (strategy)?

There are many paths to the same destination. Craft a plan from many points of view.

What is the best route (tactics)?

First things first. Use a triage method to choose a course with the greatest urgency or impact. Then chip away at the lower priorities.

What steps are required (action)?

Each tactic has multiple stages. Break the action down into bite-sized sections. Sometimes, momentum is easier with breaks between spurts of activity.

Who will take ownership of each step (accountability)?

The roles of each teammate are linked. Transparency and communication provide a connection between the smallest action and its contribution to the vision.

When should each phase be completed (timelines)?

Deadlines influence pace. Whether proactive, steady, or last-minute, adhering to a timetable is a form of respect between teammates.

How will we know we’ve accomplished the goal (measurement)?

The movement from current state to desired state should be quantified. Subjective goals with squishy milestones are rarely motivating. Tension seeks resolution. Growth is measured. Keep a scorecard.

Change looks different from the bottom up when you are accustomed to looking from the top down. Engagement and succession are made easier when everyone sees their part in the growth of a team or organization. Whether setting vision, designing strategy, recommending tactics, taking actions, tracking timelines, or measuring outcomes, allow each phase to overlap in a way that keeps the big picture visible to all and gives each teammate a reason to feel valued.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.