First, the bad news: no matter how clearly, consistently, or creatively we communicate the vision, some people just won’t get it. Sometimes they will not want to follow. Sometimes they will wander. They will have their own ideas—their own agendas. Sometimes they’ll even try to hijack the vision!
I don’t know how you were raised, but I was told never to pick up hitchhikers. That may sound mean, because after all, hitchhikers obviously need a ride. Why not stop to pick them up? Simply because, historically, hitchhikers have often become hijackers. They’ve knocked the driver in the head and seized the wheel of the car, and taken both car and driver somewhere against their will. The word hijack means to seize by force or threat of force.
Hijacking happens in organizations every day. The leader gets knocked out of the driver’s seat, and the vehicle is taken somewhere else against the leader’s will. Here’s how it happens: if you think about it, every organization begins 100 percent unified around the vision. It begins completely aligned. Sure, there may be only one person, or just a few people, but everyone believes in the vision so deeply they’re willing to risk everything to see it happen. However, over time, new people begin to come on board, many of whom don’t understand what the organization really stands for and where it is trying to go. They certainly have different ideas about where it should go. Slowly, either consciously or unconsciously, vision hitchhikers often become vision hijackers. If we don’t wake up and seize the wheel, we’re going to end up miles away from our original destination.