Management 101 by Bernie Sanders! Give them a vision...
I admit it. I am a political junkie. I have loved watching the Democratic debates and been fascinated by all the “dialogue.” For the time being Bernie Sanders seems to be in the driver’s seat, especially after his victory in the Nevada primary.
But how is that possible? “He’s a socialist!” “He’s a communist!” “His spending plans are limitless with no way to pay for them!” And in a cosmic twist of irony, his own party is genuinely praying he doesn’t win as they fear he won’t defeat Trump. And yet, he’s still leading most polls.
I believe we can sum up his entire candidacy in one word: Vision. Bernie has laid out an incredible vision for his Presidency. You may not like it, nor agree with it. You may think it’s based on fantasy (It is!) But, he has a vision which he’s able to convey fairly clearly to the American people. The other candidates have a “just not (insert whatever you’d like) vision”
“Anybody but Trump” is not a motivating slogan. “Bernie is a socialist” won’t get people to the polls. “I am the only one with enough experience” doesn’t rile up a crowd. “I am similar to Bernie, yet not as radical” doesn’t move the needle.
Like voters, employees need to be engaged with a vision. They need to know where they are heading, and more importantly why. All too often employees plug away day after day on projects, tasks, and activities, which are seemingly disconnected from their business. Great managers excite employees about their work.
And yes, just like Bernie, sometimes these visions must be grandiose and audacious. I am sure some of Google’s first developers were slightly skeptical of their “organize the world’s data” vision when it was introduced. The world? Really, the entire world?!
How do you know your team is connected to the big picture? Just ask! “Do you understand what the company is trying to achieve?” “Do you realize why this project is so important to our overall strategy” More often than not, employees will sheepishly answer “no” but most often they will want to know! So explain it, and explain it again and again until they get it.
The ability to articulate a clear vision is important for any manager and all politicians!
And on a personal note, let’s hope it’s not too late for another Democratic contender to articulate theirs!