Vision animates, inspires, transforms purpose into action.
So, Steve, what will you tell your children?
This is the challenge that a good friend offered as we debriefed a successful client engagement. We were walking on the slopes of the Lake District mountain of Blencathra when our conversation turned from the exhilarating and exciting team-build we had just completed to our thoughts of the future. What could be the most meaningful 'dent' each of us might make in the universe? How could we bring the capabilities that we had worked so hard to gain into the service of others? And how would we develop a vision that would sustain ourselves and others as we turned imagination and possibility into reality?
The leadership role of visioning the future remains a critical task, whether we hope to change social institutions, businesses or our own lives.
The most successful leader of all is the one who sees another picture not yet actualised.
(Mary Parker Follett)
A compelling business vision has become recognised as an essential element of our strategic planning. Yet the line between inspired brilliance and deluded failure seems to be incredibly narrow. Often, this imaginal, creative process is reduced to a mechanistic 'six step' (or similar) process that results in documents that live in the bottom of a filing cabinet. If the challenge is for us 'see another picture', how can we do this in a way that inspires and connects, catalyses and invigorates?
Vision. It's a visual thing. Visual methods have the potential to enable you and your teams to develop the vision and creative mental imagery that leads to strategic innovation and engaging change. As imagery begins to occupy more and more of our daily experience, our information and media is becoming increasingly visual, and we are subliminally developing the visual literacy and skill that visual/digital technologies can easily exploit.
To change something we need to hold in our mind and heart the possibility that things could be different.
(Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone)
Visual technologies reach beyond words and the ritualised jargon that confines our imagination. Our strategic conversations need to be supported by processes which stretch our routine business thinking. As well as conventional rational analysis, the ability to generate new ideas, creativity and inspiration is borne of intuitive, artistic, embodied, aesthetic capacities.