Envisioning the Future
By Rich Drinion, MA
Visioning provides a target for the leader, followers and other constituents. If done effectively, the resulting vision statement includes input from stakeholders as it pertains to the future of the organization.
Developing a Vision Statement
A vision statement is a declaration of what your organization will do in the future. Developing the statement is a collaborative effort that creates a collective picture of a shared future. The vision provides a target at which you take aim and then make plans to reach.
Although the vision statement represents a future destination for the organization, the document is stated in the present tense as though already achieved. The subconscious mind recognizes and responds more readily to the here and now than to some distant “will be” time.
If the group decides: “Someday we will be the top company in our industry” the subconscious mind might respond by saying: “Fine, tell me when that someday comes.” If, instead, participants state, “We are the top company in our industry,” the subconscious goes to work creating that reality.
Conducting a Visioning Session
The visioning session should include the leader, facilitator, selected followers and any other parties who may be considered instrumental in the visioning process. Set aside enough time, usually a half to full day, for a visioning meeting. Utilize a setting that is conducive to relaxation and creative thinking and free of interruptions.
During the visioning session participants will want to address several important items, including:
A paradigm is the current point of view by which an organization or individual operates. Any current point of view will usually peak in usefulness and then decline in value and eventually become outdated. A current mindset usually needs to be revised or replaced in changing times. To be successful in any endeavor, you must recognize what worked yesterday might not work today. You will have to change, adapt and update your modes of operation to stay viable in today’s world. If not, you run the risk of becoming a dinosaur or worse, of extinction.
Improved Operating Models
Being exposed to new and better models often causes a paradigm shift. This exposure to the new and better gives you or your staff a view of how things could be done differently. Your efforts to seize on improved operating models can bring fresh approaches to getting things done, while changing your ideas about how the world works and giving you new viewpoints complete with working parts.
An Actively Learning Organization
When you inspire and encourage your followers to be active learners, they are more likely to anticipate change, remain open to change and watch the horizon for improved ways of doing things. You don’t want to pursue change for the sake of change, but you do want to read the writing on the wall and watch the horizon for what comes next.
Dialog and Discussion
Participants in a learning organization engage in both dialog and discussion regarding change. Dialog involves the open consideration and contemplation of ideas and possibilities. Discussion includes debating the pros and cons of the current reality and what to actually do next. Actively learning organizations perpetually stay open to new ideas, make new choices and make decisions that allow them to move forward in new ways.
A Collective Vision
During a successful visioning process, a collective picture emerges from different individual views. A skilled facilitator can help participants voice their views on the organization’s products, services, operations, market, customers, investors, board, leadership, membership, technology and many other factors. The facilitator can, from that information, help participants weave a shared vision for the future of the organization.