From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Instilling Your Vision

In the last lesson, you learned how others measure you by your own behavior and the commitments you keep. You saw how your own commitments influence the behavior of employees and if you want change, your actions must be consistent with requests.

Now that you have an understanding of what needs to be in place before you can influence the actions of customer, you are ready for the next step.

Your leadership style is critical to aligning the minds of your employees around customer centric actions. In order for your company to reach its objectives, every employee must pull in the right direction, and that's what you'll learn how to do in this lesson.

Discover a leadership style that instills your vision in the minds of employees as if it were their own. Even, how employees can then leverage active customers to reach corporate objectives.


Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

Ps. Many valuable readers were referred by valuable readers like you. Save time by encouraging senior managers and other executives from your company to join this newsletter today. You'll find the implementation of these strategies becomes effortless, as more of your key leaders are familiar with each lesson. Forward with your comments by print or email now.

Influence Others To Accomplish Business Objectives With Simple Commitments

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

Imagine rolling out a new initiative, employees grab it up and immediately execute it from top to bottom without event. Within months, the change you desired is a reality and customers are thanking you for it.

Whether a lead generation campaign that finds customers who are suffering without your solution or an alignment of resources that improves profitability -- you can take lead and influence your entire company.

Convey Your Vision In A Hearable Way

First start by communicating the vision you have of desired results. What would the accomplishment of this objective mean to employees? Help employees see what you see by fully describing every detail of the objectives desired result.

Help employees see your vision in their own minds through their own wants and desires. This is a leadership skill, don't tell employees what you want from them, but help them discover what they want from themselves.

Outline A Path To That Vision

Next, identify several events along the way that will be experience to reach that result. Describe a general path to the picture you have of the successful accomplishment of this objective. Instead of telling employees what they must do to reach this point, invite them to create their own series of actions that move them closer to this shared vision.

By providing general guidance instead of layout out every step give you benefit of your employees combined intelligence. If you want to discuss specific actions, then do so with the feedback of your close reports only. When employees see where a company is going and feel a part of that result, they will find a way to get there.

Task close reports with certain milestones on the way to your vision, match milestones with key strengths of group members. If certain sales figures are required, then ask sales how they might attain them. Encourage each group to work together for this common objective.

Request A Commitment To Action

You'll hear many ideas about actions that might advance the objective. Stop at this point and you would be wasting valuable time, instead ask employees to commit to a single course of action to which they will report their results. Ask, "Which of these actions would be the most productive use of your time in reaching this vision as you have described it?"

Employees with a vision and a commitment to specific action now need a place to apply this potential. To improve key performance indicators or create a profitable desired outcome, this potential must reach the customer.

Encourage employees to share these convictions and actions with customers by describing exactly what results it will create for them. Customers must understand why and how this new behavior benefits them. Remember, the customer funds change in your organization.

Simple Commitments Model In Action

Background: "An executive of a solutions provider who has a delivered product with an inventory component wants a certain desired result."

At each stage of communicating the vision, a commitment to certain understandings or actions made through discussion, documentation, and affirmation by employees. Measure employees and management only on the actions they commit to writing.

Vision of Executive:

Objective: "Reduce delays in delivery, fewer product returns, and a greater volume of profitable new business."

Results: "Customers thinking more about the use of the product than when it will arrive, even receive it while our sales message is fresh. This should free resources that are reinvested in a greater volume of profitable customers."

Messages to Employee:

  1. "Reduces returns saves you time that could be better spent seeking new business that increase profit sharing."
  2. "Greater customer satisfaction means more job security; customers who buy and receive what they expected buy again."
  3. "Less annoyed customers calling and wondering about their orders, even canceling orders before receipt."

Employee Suggested Actions:

  1. "Provide post sales materials that prepare customer for the receipt of order that stresses any preparation and reiterates the benefits."
  2. "Integrate ordering and fulfillment to reduce delays incurred before product is ready to ship."
  3. "Provide more automated information about order tracking that lets customers track shipment without interacting with people."

Employee Commitments:

Benefit to Customer:

  1. "Pre-delivery materials remove surprises in space preparation by providing everything you need to have in place before delivery."
  2. "You will receive shipments 2-days earlier because we have better integrated our fulfillment system."
  3. "Twenty-four hour access to order status from the minute your order is entered till received by your office, provides you better planning and placement insights."

When your employees believe in what you want to accomplish as their own vision of success, they can share that enthusiasm with customers who will benefit from the change. You'll find it easier to bring customers along because they will understand the benefit to them.

Check Consistency With Measures

How do you know nothing is lost in translation? Your vision of desired results presents the guidelines for measuring an individual employee's success. Your managers should execute this strategy based on the same vision too.

It is possible for individual's objectives or desired results to influence they way they see the picture of desired results. The only way to measure employee perception is to (a) compare results of committed actions to desired results, and (b) observe customer behavior in response to the new actions of employees.

Ask, "Is there behavior supporting or defeating the accomplishment of our key objectives?" Involve employees in monitoring this progress; help them measure their own behavior as it contributes to the objective communicated. Employees should ask themselves, "Is what I'm about to do contributing to my understanding of the company's objectives?"

Leadership Built On Simple Commitments

Why does this method beat a top down "Do what I say" approach. It works because it isn't possible for one executive to have all the answers. You'll even find that employees will have ideas that inspire actions more relevant to the needs of your current customers and that you may not have considered.

Top down management creates mindless myrmidon, where this type of leadership creates intelligent followers.

This isn't an empowerment exercise as much as it is delegation. You are defining the parameters of success, and then inviting employees to identify the steps necessary. Finally, you are conveying this vision through employees to customers in the form of derived value.

Each fulfilled commitment reinforces the desired result while still leaving room for the independent thought necessary to exceed your expectations.

Still many executives make the mistake of telling employees what they want them to do to accomplish certain tasks. Why would you have employees if you weren't taking advantage of their unique skills? Communicate your desired results, help employees make it their own, then help them convert customers with actions that advance key objectives.

© 2004 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.
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Justin Hitt is a strategic relations consultant with the Center for Strategic Relations. He is available for limited consultative support of professional organizations serving other businesses. Call +1 (877) 207-3798 or visit

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