One of the common tendencies for people of all roles – employees through executive leadership – is to get discouraged or cast down when things do not seem to be working well.
During those days where work pressure is high, resources get tight, or disruptions and failures occur, it’s only human nature to lose heart and be overwhelmed with the sense that things will not get better and that goals will not be met.
That is precisely the time you will need to promote the big picture of your mission, goals, and values throughout each day in order to prevent low morale and short-term results from derailing you and your team.
And perhaps the most amazing thing about painting a big picture of where you’re going every day is this:
Anybody at any level and any role can impact your culture by keeping the vision in front of their team.
One great example of this was during the 2004 baseball playoffs. After three games in the American League Championship Series, the New York Yankees held a commanding 3-0 games lead in a best-of-seven series over the Boston Red Sox. The third game was a lopsided 19-8 victory for New York that seemed sure to swing momentum toward winning the series. But before game 4, the players took it upon themselves to not lose hope. Instead of being demoralized at the prospect of being defeated for the second straight year by the Yankees, they took a different mindset.
No team ever in the history of professional baseball had ever rallied from a 3-0 game deficit to win a best of seven series. Couple that with 86 years of failures in the playoffs since Boston’s last World Series championship, and the team could have easily sunk into a defeatist attitude. But Boston’s players went before the cameras, and not willing to be part of history but to make it, said “Why not us?” Instead of being downcast and looking at recent failures, they kept their eyes on a bigger goal: winning and playing with hope.
Over the next four games, the Red Sox played with that vision and hope during every pitch, every inning. What resulted was a miraculous come-from-behind series win that propelled them over the Yankees to the World Series. That big picture carried them through a 4-0 World Series sweep to win the championship that year.
If anyone and everyone on your team can keep their eyes on the big picture, look at how the pieces can and will come together, and build up each other’s vision and confidence, anything is possible for your organization.
Create a culture that allows your people to make some of these statements:
- We are still on an overall trend to meet goals in spite of the shortfall. Stock markets go up and down drastically for periods but trend up over time.
- We still believe in the mission and what we do!
- The results are due to timing, market forces, and such. We have confidence in our values and strategy!
- At the least, what have we learned as a company? What skills as an individual have I learned and developed to make myself better at what I do?
- To borrow the phrase from the Red Sox, “Why not us?” We can succeed as much as anyone else!
When people see, believe, and progress toward the big picture of your organization’s goals, a powerful team is unleashed that will withstand the most challenging of circumstances that get in the way.
The secret to success is simple: create a culture that allows anyone to see and keep the big picture in front of everyone else.
More From Paul LaRue
Paul LaRue is the creator of The UPwards Leader and Instigator for Lead Change Group. His background in senior leadership,. strategic planning, culture change, and people and organizational development gives him unique insight into the workings of successful organizations. Paul has given speeches and training sessions for many public and private entities and stresses the virtue of a culture that centers around core values and character in leadership.