How I boosted engagement in my dispersed teams – Part I

The ingredients for a compelling vision

As mentioned many times before, organisations are getting highly dispersed. One of the biggest risks in dispersed organisations is that members are far less engaged than in co-located organisational units. Over and over again this challenge surfaces in conversations I have with leaders of virtual teams. These leaders are struggling to foster engagement and, hence, increase motivation and performance of their virtual team.

Fostering engagement through a compelling Vision

Based on my own experience and on publications from researchers of positive psychology the answer to this challenge is a compelling vision. People like Mihály Csíkszentmihály  have shown that giving a strong meaning to the work people do drastically increases intrinsic motivation and engagement. Though a compelling vision is not only powerful in dispersed organisation but also in co-located ones, however, its effect is far stronger in a virtual context in terms of fostering engagement and motivation.

In part I of this blog I describe the ingredients for a compelling vision!

Part II  next week shows examples of how leaders are delivering such a vision in a very compelling way.

Ingredients of a compelling vision

Let’s put a focus on the ingredients first. In the following I will describe the 5 elements for a compelling vision which have worked extremely well for me in many contexts; being it business, industry or NGOs:

  1. A picture of the expected future state
    You need to have a very clear, vivid picture of the situation which will be the result of the work people have to engage in. The clearer and the more colourful you have this picture in mind the better. And it also has to be communicated well.
  2. Truthful statements
    Anything you say when describing the future state needs to be true and believable by the audience. Even hiding drawbacks and obstacles on the way will not be helpful.
  3. A clear, jargon free language
    When you talk about your vision and describe it to others keep your language simple and free of any jargon.
  4. A strong bonding element
    It helps tremendously to include an element that brings people closer together across hierarchies. Like the picture of all being in the same boat.
  5. Passion with strong positive emotions
    Everything you say and describe needs to be underpinned by your own passion to fulfil that vision. That should be combined with strong positive emotions.

Having all these ingredients together the question now is how do you create the compelling magic of your vision?

In next week’s part II I will share a few examples of how great leaders have used these ingredients and composed a very compelling delivery of their vision.



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