Mitigating expectations in vision

Yesterday, I shared an observation about a leader answering a question and not hearing the major concern that was implied in the question.  This was likely because the leader saw a vision and did not want to lose focus.

Leaders sometimes see a vision that the rest of the organization may not yet see.  Being aware of this provides opportunity to mitigate issues that arise from different expectations.  Enlist advocates of the vision to help the organization move forward. Encourage these advocates to listen to feedback from the organization and work to provide guidance.  

Limits of vision

Recently, I observed a meeting between an executive leader and their top-level managers.  The executive leader outlined changes coming and encouraged the managers to simplify and move quicker.  

Someone asked (not verbatim): “I agree on the direction and understand that some existing priorities are to remain must-do tasks and deliverables.  Will there be any changes in priorities in order to achieve the new direction?”  

The response provided (not verbatim): “We must stop asking questions like these and focus on delivering.”  Their answer expounded further about the unfruitfulness of the question that was asked.

People ask questions for guidance, to clear the path because they are stuck, or because they understand limited time/resources/money and want to ensure they and their teams are aligned. 

Our organizations will only achieve the limits that we set for them: Those limits may reach to outer space.  Or, those limits may extend only to our ability to hear what is being asked.