How I boosted the engagement in my dispersed teams – Part II

The recipe for delivering a compelling vision

In last week’s blog I had reasoned that as the leader of a virtual team you can boost the engagement in your team through a compelling vision. I had also outlined the 5 ingredients necessary to make a vision compelling. If you have missed it, check it out here.

In today’s part 2, I will focus on how these ingredients, when mixed in the best way, create a compelling vision. This is not just a theoretical approach. I have applied this recipe in my most recent virtual teams, all volunteers working together, very successfully.

My favourite and in my view the most visionary speech which clearly demonstrates the inspiring power of a vision is one of Shakespeare’s Henry V. It is his St. Crispin’s Day speech (named that because it happened at the eve of St. Crispins Day) and is a speech in which Henry V. addresses his troops just before the decisive battle against the French in Agincourt.

boost engagement through compelling vision

Before reading any further you might want to watch this video on YouTube first.

So, how does Henry V use the five ingredients I’ve described last week in his speech?

He describes the future picture through vivid scenes of the common man and their memories as well as the celebrations of the successful battle and the honour they gained through it. He speaks about the pride and honour they will feel on the memorial celebrations of each future St. Crispin’s day and puts it in the context of their families and communities.

His descriptions of what will happen on the way are truthful. He does not hide the stumbling blocks, the suffering and dead. However, he gives a very different perspective of the future state long beyond the now.

Even so he uses ‘ancient’ language from our perspective today he keeps it simple and uses no jargon. His messages are very clear and concise, easy to understand by his audience.

He uses a strong bonding element as he calls the men in front of him a band of brothers, equal to him. You have to keep in mind in those days hierarchical distances between Royals and the common men or soldiers were much bigger than anything we experience in today’s organisations.

Throughout the whole speech you can feel his passion and positive emotions. He speaks from the heart and you can hear the energy and emotions in his voice. He leaves absolutely no doubt that he believes strongly in what he talks about.

Of course, Kenneth Branagh playing Henry V uses a language appropriate in Shakespeare’s times. Yet, if  you focus not on the language itself but on how it is used in the context you will see how he incorporates the five ingredients I have described in part 1 of this blog. What language you use and how you speak about your vision needs to fit your personality and environment, of course, in order to be authentic and believable as well as inspiring.

Sometimes when I use this example in my workshops leaders object that this is just a story invented by Shakespeare and performed in the theatre. Indeed, it is ‘just’ literature but it still shows very well the structure and ingredients all great speakers are using in visionary speeches inspiring their audiences.

There are many more examples around. A more recent one is Barack Obama’s victory speech ( ) and some of his speeches of his election campaign. Another, very famous historic speech would be Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream”.

I hope these thoughts about a compelling vision help you as well as they did for me, to boost engagement and motivation in your (virtual) team or (dispersed) organisation.

If you want to explore this approach further please get in touch with me direct.



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