Vision: What Does it Mean to Be a…

I’m currently reading the book EntreLeadership and I do believe that many of the principles shared in the book also applies to leading and running a softball team or program. One thing that struck me yesterday were the thoughts on vision. It’s not the first time I’ve thought of vision in relation to a team, but this book added some additional insight which got me thinking about it again.

Here’s what I picked up:

  • First and foremost you need to actually have a vision for your team
  • You must talk about your vision early and often
  • You need to talk about your vision for your team 21 times before they really start “hearing” it
  • You can’t talk about your vision “too much”
  • Even after they “get it” you still need to restate it so that as your team or program grows and changes it continues to reflect that vision

With that said, do you have a vision for the team or program you lead?  Does your staff and your team know what that vision is?  Do they know what it means to be a part of the team?

Having a clear vision which is communicated to the team and coaching staff will ensure everyone understands:

  • What it means to be a “insert your team nickname here”
  • What is expected of team members and what they represent as part of the team
  • What you are striving toward together
  • Why your team chooses to do things the way we do
  • That there is a bigger picture involved, not just decisions for “today”

The single biggest thing I realized after reading this part of the book was that most coaches don’t communicate or share their vision enough. They have it in their head.  They may mention it once or twice.  They may share it in bits and pieces, but in most cases they fail to saturate the team environment with it, then they wonder why team members don’t represent the team colors or the team name or the organization as a whole they feel it should be represented.

Most coaches don’t tie every job, biggest and smallest, to the team vision.  As a result, some things are seen as less important when they’re really not and team members fail to take pride in everything they do, they only do so in the things that feel important.

Having a vision is the start of influencing the “culture” or environment of your team. Sharing that vision is essential to cultivating that culture.  Mission statements clearly and succinctly communicate your vision to all team members.  However, mission statements are not something you can come up with in a matter of minutes or even within a few days.  The best mission statements are mulled over with input from the entire staff until it fully embodies your vision.  A good one will last for years and years and help keep you, your staff, and your program on track toward your ultimate goals.

Kevin Eaton
 

Keavin Eaton lives with his wife and two boys in New Orleans, LA. He has a bachelor’s degree in Phys Ed from the University of New Orleans and a Master’s degree in Kinesiology from the Louisiana State University. As an athlete, Kevin competed in many sports including wrestling, rowing, speed skating and bobsleigh before finding skeleton. Opinions expressed by Kevin on Play Famously are his own.

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