I picked up a new pair of glasses last week and I was reminded of the moment when I received my first pair of glasses.
At age ten I walked into the optometrist’s office full of angst – embarrassed at having “failed” the eye-test (I know that’s illogical but never-the-less its how I felt), and worried about the prospect of being called “four-eyes”. I was all set to hate these new contraptions on my face. Then I walked out of the office and looked around my small town. Despite all my angst, my reaction was immediate and visceral, “Oh Wow! Look at how many branches there are on those trees! Look at all those leaves! I had no idea…!” The world was rich with new clarity and detail, “Oh Wow!”
My latest pair of glasses have progressive lenses which provide multiple focal points for seeing at various distances, both near and far. Given that I am someone who has accumulated a certain amount of life experience <wink>, seeing the fine print has become a challenge. When I tried on these new glasses, the technician handed me a card containing print of various sizes and ask me which ones I could read. My response was again immediate and visceral, “Oh Wow! I can read that tiny print; and look how close I’m holding this card to my face! Oh Wow!”
My point is this – Clarity of vision is an “Oh Wow” experience.
This is true in the world of work just as in the physical world.
In my role of Agile coach I hear lots of discussion about how to motivate individuals and teams. One of the greatest motivators I have seen is clarity-of-vision.
Just so there is no confusion, clarity-of-vision is different than having goals. I hear lots of discussion about goals and goal-setting as a way of motivating employees. That is not what I am talking about here. Goals score points. Visions inspire. Goals are often tied to extrinsic motivators such as bonuses. Visions are more visceral, and more powerful; they tap into intrinsic motivation.
When we have a clear mental image of the future we are heading toward, and we know why that future is important and beneficial, it can be an “Oh Wow” experience. We see the possibilities; we are energized, excited, inspired! Let’s go! Let’s do it!
Do we ever need to make changes to keep the vision clear?
Sure. I certainly went through numerous pairs of corrective lenses as my vision changed over the years. In the work environment, visions change as well. Often the vision blurs so gradually that we don’t realize that we have become unfocused. We need to test our vision periodically, and do whatever is needed to sharpen it up.
Is the vision sometimes challenging?
Definitely. Sometimes the vision is expansive and we have to pick one small part to focus on at a time. But without that context of the expansive view, our small focus area would be much less inspiring.
Consider your world of work – what is your mental image of the future you are working toward? How clear is the vision to you? To your team? To your organization?
When was that last time you looked at that vision and said “Oh Wow!”… literally… out loud… “Oh Wow! I see the possibilities now! Let’s go!”
What can you do to clarify the vision and make that “Oh Wow” experience possible?