Follow-up to our newsletter on how employees understand your vision

The ultra-condensed version of our latest newsletter

Most leaders under-communicate their vision for the future by a factor of 10, yet are somewhat tired of saying it and bothered by how little people understand it. Since the rest of the organization doesn't understand the vision, they try to figure it out by taking apart the communication they see and hear and then reassembling the pieces into a coherent vision. And they often get it wrong.

I did leave out one of the most important tools all leaders have in their toolbelts – leadership by example.

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Studies show – and you probably know – given the choice between the words someone says and the actions that person does, people trust most what a person does. This applies to non-verbal communication like voice tonality and body posture, yet it applies even more strongly to those actions a person takes that can only be seen.

Changing your actions to emphasize your message

This isn’t rocket science. When your physical actions and decisions align with the message you want people to receive, they will better understand that very message.

The challenge is to think through what actions would positively reinforce your vision for the company and are also completely authentic for you. Why? If you do things that are out of character, people will assume that there is some other motive operating and discount your actions as some fluke. On the other hand, any change of behavior on your part will bring out the folks who will second-guess what you are really up to, so be prepared for resistance no matter what.

If you’ve consciously selected actions that will telegraph the right message to everyone, and reinforce those actions with words that you can speak from your heart – people will get it.

And once you see people doing and saying those same things around the organization you will know that the message is getting through and you are all on the path to making the vision become reality.

Chris Hutchinson, CEO

Chris Hutchinson, CEO


Chris Hutchinson

As CEO of Trebuchet Group, Chris Hutchinson thrives working with clients and his team to improve organizational clarity, teamwork, and leadership impact.

After years of building Legos® and tree houses around the world, Chris earned his Mechanical Engineering degree and followed that with an MBA. His experiences in the military and the business world taught him great leadership can be learned, and everyone is in some way a leader.

Clients and peers describe him as an inspirational catalyst for positive change. He is the author of Ripple - A Field Manual for Leadership That Works.

Chris and his wife live, garden, and bike in Fort Collins, Colorado, and have four children. He has an unrequited love affair with brownies.