"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire; you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will. " — George Bernard Shaw, 19th century Irish playwright, critic, and social reformer
Following is a menu of pathways and pitfalls to organizational Focus and Context:
Describe the results we've achieved and perhaps the approach we've used. We need to speak in the present tense as if it's all happening around us right now. Another approach is to pretend we have a time machine and we've traveled ahead to about five years from now. We can look and listen in on the incredible success our changes or improvements. We will then travel back to today and report to our team what we saw, heard, touched, tasted, smelled and felt. What were our highly loyal customers saying about our team or organization? How were the passionate people throughout our organization talking and acting? How about suppliers? Shareholders? What about other external or internal partners?
Visions are the most compelling when a leader who’s an effective communicator delivers them in person. Powerful personal communication skills and energizing leadership are inseparable. We need to learn how to use “impassioned logic" by adding metaphors, stories, models, or examples to help everyone “see the big picture" and rouse their emotions to make it happen.
I prefer this approach because senior management's role is to make those broad decisions and provide directional leadership. In what can be a long series of meetings in a large organization, everyone is brought together to hear — hopefully a passionate — presentation by a senior manager on the organization's current threats and opportunities and a positive, hopeful picture of how the organization or team will deal with them.
Each group is then led through a series of exercises to give feedback or input to the vision. But generally the main focus is on developing the team's vision that links into the larger organizational one. They then move on to identify boosters and barriers to realizing the vision, improvements and changes needed, and set action plans.
Vision is the critical focal point and beginning to high performance. But obviously a vision alone won't make it happen. Unless the hard work of striving, building, and improving follows, even the most vibrant vision will remain only a dream.
Jim Clemmer is a bestselling author and internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, workshop/retreat leader, and management team developer on leadership, change, customer focus, culture, teams, and personal growth. During the last 25 years he has delivered over two thousand customized keynote presentations, workshops, and retreats. Jim's five international bestselling books include The VIP Strategy, Firing on All Cylinders, Pathways to Performance, Growing the Distance, and The Leader's Digest. His web site is http://www.clemmer.net/articles