Developing a vision will help provide direction and scope and motivate your unit-based team even when team members confront stumbling blocks in their working relationships or in their ability to improve and sustain performance. A good team vision will be credible and grounded in reality. It will describe a future state inspiring enough to motivate team members to reach it.
The vision should reflect the goals of Henry J. Kaiser and Sidney Garfield, who founded Kaiser Permanente with the strong social mission of providing low-cost, high-quality health care for workers and their families.
The vision also should be grounded in the team members' best experiences of working together or with others—and of reaching goals that are bigger than the team or any of its individual members. A compelling vision can:
- Attract and energize team members willing to commit themselves to the organization's future with a vision of how they can contribute to it;
- Create meanings in team members' lives beyond their individual goals. Look at the difference between a team member who says, "I answer phones for Kaiser Permanente," and one who says, "I'm part of a team transforming health care by building quality and service for our members";
- Inspire a standard of performance that reinforces continuous improvement of care;
- Link the past, present and future by drawing from the past and present to build a bridge to the future.
Team vision activity
The team vision worksheet, one of the tools in the right-hand column of this page, provides team members an opportunity to look at their feelings about their own levels of commitment when preparing to establish their team's vision. It allows individuals to tell a story about great and often provocative moments in a team experience. In turn, these great moments can be translated into a foundation for the current team's vision.
After successful completion of this activity, the team will have:
- Identified examples of components of great teams;
- Facilitated ways to recreate those great moments of the past into the team's present experience;
- Achieved commitment to specific initiatives and smaller, often individual, tasks for building a great team.