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Line of sight and The golden thread are often talked about but also often confused.  For us, they are two different things and the distinction is important.  These are both about how individuals and teams in the organisation relate to the organisation’s goals, but in different ways. These are often used interchangeably.  However, as far as we are concerned, they are quite different.  They both need thinking about when developing organisational purpose, goals and objectives.

Line of sight

Line of sight is what an individual has towards the organisational goals.  He or she wants to see how they fit in and contribute to that goal.  They have their own line of sight to the target (metaphorical or real target).

The Golden Thread

The Golden thread, in my mind is something different,  A golden thread is from the organisational goal to the person or team.  It operates in the opposite way to the line of sight.  It is the connection of that goal to their role.

If a golden thread is not available to a team, then they are likely not to have line of sight to that goal of objective.

Line of sight and the golden thread connect people with organisational goals, in different ways.

Thinking about the golden thread, or threads, is important because it forces people who are writing organisational goals and mission statements and strategic objectives, to think how those goals are made meaningful for people.  It asks that you write the goals in a way that leave the threads that people can pick up.  This connects them to the mission, goal or objective.  It means they then have line of sight.

You have to think about, both line of sight and the golden thread, for different teams and groups, when developing objectives and goals.  You might have to work specifically to position people so they have a line of sight.

Line of sight and the golden thread look at the same problem from different perspectives.

When there is a golden thread to a role of team, and they feel they have line of sight to an objective, then the work they is likely to becomes more meaningful.  Note that this is meaningful in the sense I use it, that they go home at the end of the day, feeling they made a difference, today.  Purpose statements which are future tense orientated: they are about achieving something in the future.

In contrast, meaningful work is present tense. It is about feeling you made a difference, today.  When work lacks meaning (today) people will become disconnected, or leave, because they feel they are not making a difference.  Here is a more detailed explanation of the difference between meaning and purpose.

This is about a role being both purposeful and meaningful

Having line of sight and a golden thread is part of that meaningfulness.  I can see where I fit in.  I feel I can make a difference to the organisation.  I feel that my work is meaningful today.

Question: Have you thought about both the golden thread and the line of sight for your teams and for individuals?