eye exam vision check

Innovation Leadership: Get Your Vision Checked before You Get Too Far

Innovation programs often reveal deeper rifts in executive alignment. Rather than letting these background assumptions fester, it is often better to have a conversation that clarifies the various positions and enables a pathway forward. We use a tool developed here at Teaming Worldwide called Vision Check. This tool is designed to drive clarity around executive mandates – those imperatives that are often stated as goals or performance metrics. Here are three common mandates that we hear: 


“Our mandate this year is to drive top-line growth through entering new markets.” 

“We must obtain X% gross margin through more efficient operations.”

“We will create new solutions to help us achieve new revenue streams.” 


Each of these statements reflects a core desire for the business to access its scarce resources toward a particular outcome. The rub is that different executives often have different versions that align with their particular goals. For example, the CEO would like innovation to drive consumer loyalty and pave the way for new service lines. The COO may view innovation as a way to break out of the performance improvement mindset and think bigger. And the CFO may see innovation primarily as a vehicle to new revenue streams, while the CIO may see innovation as a pathway to venture activity. 

Our experience is that one measure of success in the effectiveness of an innovation program depends upon how aligned the decision makers are. Lacking a shared focus, the innovation program often gets pulled in too many directions: for example, trying to build a venture capability and an internal innovation lab. Early stage innovation offices cannot afford this invisible tug of war, nor can the consumers or internal stakeholders. The challenge, then, is to create a common dialogue around the executive motivations, hopes, intentions, and expectations. 

Alignment is not a one-time pulse check, but rather a continuous discussion – a practice of routinely checking the vision against the current set of circumstances to see how the decision makers fare. Over the years, we’ve learned to streamline this discussion, to test the vision against the key criteria in order to quickly identify areas of misalignment. The primary benefit of this method is that the decision makers become well versed in the constructive disagreement on vision.   

Here is a simple, but effective conversation to have with your leadership team to build rapport around what an innovation program should be doing. The Vision Check exercise asks the participants to select one over the other – a binary choice – which helps to clarify thinking and state a preference. This tool is designed for low-tech implementation, discussion, and alignment and can help you and your team get closer to your intended future state.


A Call to Action

Ready to learn more about the Vision Check, about Intentional Innovation®, our commercially-proven process to simplify and deploy higher performing, longer lasting, innovative solutions that drive new revenues and deeper customer engagement, and how Teaming Worldwide can help you solve your business’s most pressing innovation pain points? Let’s connect. Visit www.teamingworldwide.com/innovation to schedule a discovery call or email hello@teamingworldwide.com.

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