Monday, December 31, 2007

Improving Vision Statements in an E-World

There are three main areas for a change initiative: Vision, Communication and Implementation (VCI). A blog tool can help solidify the initial phase – vision. In many projects team members are excluded from the generation of the vision statement. This communication devise can share with the team the thinking behind the vision statement. Once understood by the team; members can share their thoughts using the blog. The leader can gain several insights about the strength of the vision and how the team feelings regarding the possible success of the project.
Sharing the Thought Process
A typical vision statement is compact and precise. The leader generally shares the vision with the team early on in the project life cycle. There is time for questions and answers shortly after the presentation. Another approach would be for the leader to share the vision in a blog; Then to also include the thinking behind the text. The leader can explain how the vision for the project supports organizational objections. This will give the team members a deeper meaning and understanding of the vision and the “why” behind the approach. Also, this affords time for reflection by the team members. People absorb concepts and formulate questions at different rates. This method will allow ideas and concerns to formulate; this way, more members can express themselves.
More Insight Regarding the Vision
Depending on the feedback from the team, the leader will learn of the team’s support of the vision. The team members are the main people to implement the project and ultimately the drivers of success. The leader needs open and honest team interpretation of the vision. Team members can post there ideas and concerns on the blog to offer their feedback to the leader. Also, other team members can experience these thoughts and gain insight or perhaps build on other team members ideas. If the team response with many questions and concerns, then the leader understands the vision perhaps is not supported by the team. Perhaps the team does not think the vision is reasonable or achievable. These questions and concerns must be addressed by the leader in order for the project to successfully complete.

The method will only work when there is trust amongst team members and the leader. There is a concern regarding lack of trust if the replies are short and vague. If a common response is “Looks good”, or “I understand the vision”, there is an issue with trust. Perhaps the posts can be entered anonymously on the blog; this will allow people to feel able to share their true ideas regarding the vision.

If the response on the vision blog comes back positive and upbeat then the leader knows the vision statement has team support. The likelihood of success is strong since the team can back the initiative. The team also has buy-in into the project and members feel connected to the overall effort. This will afford the leader a sense of members working to a common goal. The project has a much better chance of a successful conclusion with everyone heading in a common direction.
Communication of the vision is an important beginning step in the project life cycle. Team members need to understand and support the vision statement for a successful conclusion. A blog can be a useful tool to share the vision and provide a mechanism to allow member a way to safely offer feedback regarding the vision. The leader will gain understanding if there is concern or support for the vision statement. With this insight, the leader can revamp the vision or move on to subsequent steps with confidence.

Some Time at the Museum

Last month, in November, Norine (my wonderful wife) and I went to the Memorial Art Gallery here in Rochester. In our travels of the different exhibits, we came upon a beautiful Italian brogue organ from 1600s – 1700s era. I wondered what the organ would have sounding like in a church setting. A few weeks later, I receive an e-mail at work regarding this very topic. The Memorial Art Gallery is having a mini-Christmas concert on Sunday 23rd at 1:00 and 3:00 lasting 25 minutes. We marked our calendars and planned to attend the event.
The big day arrived and all the stars were aligned for us to go (you know how thing go sometimes). I was very excited about the whole thing. I know, I know; wow how exciting, 1700 classical music played on an ancient organ. My musical taste is very wide; you know the saying from Bach to Rock. Sunday morning we went to our usual mass at 10:30. We then went to get a bite to eat before heading out to the Art Gallery. Arriving at 1:15, we proceeded to the check-in counter. After completing the check-in procedure (you know how long that takes), we spotted a beautiful Christmas tree in the main lobby. Here is a picture of us in front of the tree.

We were informed that the 1:00 performance was under way and that there was a 3:00 showing that we can catch, if interested. So we had some time on our hands. Early on in our viewing there was an Egyptian exhibit featuring a mummy and authentic Egyptian artifacts. It was a fascinating display; there was a very well preserved mummy and the coffin belonging to this mummy. One piece of knowledge that I learned about the times is that the process of mummification and elaborate painted coffins was not reserved for royalty. If you had money, you could have this done as well. The geologist believes that this particular coffin was made prior to this person’s death and was generally made by a merchant. At the head area was a blank space left for the name of the person how would buy it in the future. The geologist even speculated that the painter initial incorrectly spelt the person’s name because it appears to be corrected with markings over the original spelling.

After viewing some more modern paintings it was time to head for the Christmas concert. There were three rows of folding chairs in front of the organ. The organ was massive; standing (I would say) two stories tall. There are about 600 pipes in the air powered organ. The keys were orange and white in color and looked out of place. Two people are required to play the organ; one to work the bellows which bring air to the pipes and another to actually play the music. The organist introduced the different music pieces but I did not catch the names since we were in the back (I most likely would not have remembered even if I was in the front row, but anyway). He played music from the 1700s including German, French and Italian pieces. The sound was varied; from bold and loud German compositions, to one piece that sounded similar to a flute. The stop knobs changed the dynamics of the sound. The organist is a student from the Eastman School of Music and actually the organ is owned by the school which is on loan to the museum.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My First Post

The concept of blogging is interesting and intimidating at the same time. There are many topic ideas that come to mind.