Is your work environment, home life, civic group or faith-based organization in chaos? Does it seem like no one knows where the group is going, who is doing what and how things are supposed to be done? After more than 30  years of being in leadership roles or watching other leaders, both good and bad, here is the most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned.

3 Ways to Move People From Chaos to Unity

Create a Shared Vision: It is true that, without vision, people perish. Shared vision is critical because it involves the most important motivators of humanity: hope and purpose. Mark Twain said the two most important days of our life are the day we are born and the day we learn why. Does your company have a vision? No, I’m not talking about a mission statement; that is different. A mission statement says, “this is what we are currently doing. A vision statement says, “this is where were going.” If you can cast a vision, then you can create purpose.

A football team has a vision to march 100 yards down the field and place a player with a ball in his hand across the goal line. Everything from the front office to the water-boy is involved in helping that player cross the line. What’s your goal line?

Define Roles: Have you ever heard of a football team full of quarterbacks? Of course not, because in order to make the team work as a unit, you need 11 different roles on offense and 11 different roles on defense. Most often, chaos happens when people don’t know their roles, don’ do their roles or decide to take on someone else’s role. Most car accidents happen when people leave their lane; the same is true for life; people leaving their lanes create chaos.

Create Processes: Football teams call it a playbook; it’s a set of processes that help the team either move the ball down the field or stop the other team from doing the same. Processes written out are critical because without them, you are dependent on the decision making of the person that happens to be responsible for that step and, should that person leave and you replace them, then you’re subject to the whims of the next person in that role.

You can also use these three ways to identify current situations involving chaos. Does the group have a vision? Are there clearly defined roles? Are there replaceable processes in place so the vision can be accomplished?

I learned these 3 ways early on in my career and they have always proven right. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a leader?