Bruce Lee and the Art of the Team Vision

‘A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at’

Bruce Lee

Most likely, you are aware that Bruce Lee was a martial artist and body builder. What many people don’t know is the true breadth of his influence in the non-ass kicking arts!  Philosophy, poetry, film choreography, fitness and nutrition are all areas where Lee made major contributions and blazed trails.  

Bruce Lee commanded the world’s attention – and his own inner powers – like no man before him, and none since. 

Aside from his physical preparation, Lee would always set aside time every day to train his powers of concentration and focus. 

He would train wearing a headset and through one side of his headphones were loud noises – car engines and horns – while the other side produced soft, tranquil sounds like raindrops hitting a pond.

The idea, Lee explained, was to train to separate both sides so he could focus only on the soft sounds.

“.. fighting is mainly practiced with one’s attention on one person,” he said. “But in the street, one might be attacked by four or more people, so I want to have my senses heightened to be receptive to the slightest sound.”

His ability to maintain a laser like focus on his goals, together with his dedicated practice and work ethic, is what ensured his success.

In the corporate world, keeping focus on the goal or vision can often be the most challenging part of a leader or managers’ reason for being.  The individuals and teams who are able to maintain focus on the end goal are the ones most likely to drive and achieve success.

There is little dispute that an organisation’s vision and the ability of its leaders to articulate and inspire others to see this vision is the differentiator between good and great at an organisational level.

What about at the team level though? Do your team members need to live and breathe the vision or is good performance, a great work ethic and the ability to manage projects sufficient?

We say hard work is not enough. Productivity is not enough. Every team needs vision!

While the organisational vision can be bold and effective, it may not be specific enough for your team. You may need to develop your own….

1.Creating a great team vision starts by asking questions:

  • What is the company vision? How does our team make a difference toward that end?
  • What will we be known for?
  • What feels impossible?
  • What do our customers most need from us?

2. Now imagine you are 5 years from now. Your team is being recognised for the great work you do.   Discuss…

  • What is the most important work we are doing?
  • What are our customers saying about us?
  • What does it feel like to work on this team?
  • What is senior management saying about us?

3. Capture the key words and values

4. Write it in the present tense

5. Make it emotive – you want to stir passion

6. Summarise the Vision Statement into a powerful phrase, that people can easily grasp

Finally, remember, you can have the best vision statement in the world, laminated and beautifully reproduced in technicolour and strategically around your office. If it is doing absolutely nothing to inspire planning, behaviours or decision-making, then it is worse than useless.

It is not what the vision is, it’s what the vision does.

And as the great Mr Lee said “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.”

– Bruce Lee

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