Create your vision with a storyboard

Create your vision with a storyboard

Many organisations talk about creating a vision for their future. However what many do is to create a vision statement. This just doesn’t work for me. Visions need to be inspirational and for this to happen they really need to soar above the limitations of words.

For this reason, I usually recommend creating a future vision through image work, at least in the first instance. To check out ideas for creating a vision using drawing, take a look here. In my next blogpost I will take a look at some other tools for creating vision, such as collage.

Ok, so you have an inspirational vision and you have shared or even better co-created it with your employees, colleagues, family. What next?

One process that you can try, is to create a storyboard to show both your future vision, where you are now, and the steps to get there.  This seems to be versatile enough to satisfy people who need a structured approach, and is also attractive to people who dislike a structured approach. For this latter category it can be fun to complete all the boxes using images.

To complete your storyboard

Take a large piece of paper and create 6 numbered  boxes as shown.

  • Put your vision image into box 6,  and in box 1 you put a picture to represent where you are now.
  • Brainstorm the gap between where you are now and your future vision. Find other people to work with on this.
  • Turn the ideas coming out if this brainstorm into actions.
  • Put all the actions down on a separate piece of paper and then work out where they fit on the journey from box 1 to box 6.
  • It  is often difficult to take those first steps from box 1 to box 2 . It’s a bit like stepping into treacle and you may get stuck. Working backwards from box 6 can help in this process. so ask yourself, what is the last action I need in place before I achieve my vision.

For people who are less structured, this can remain as a loose journey based upon some big action steps. Drawing them can be fun and inspiring.
If you are a more structured person then you can work with defining each step and adding targets etc to them.  Bullet proofing can be helpful at this stage to check out what can prevent and what can help achievement of the final vision.

This process can be used in many different ways. for example, I have coached people to use it to develop their strategy, or to map out their personal and professional development. It is also very useful as a process withing creative problem solving to pull together the different stages of the process.

I hope this has given you some ideas for working with putting vision into reality. The next step to take is to do exactly that – take some action!

Barbara is an executive coach, leadership and creativity facilitator. She has coached women and men in a variety of corporate settings, and has developed a unique approach to using creative techniques in her coaching and workshops to enable change at a group or individual level. She has recently co-authored a book on creativity for leaders, called Creativity Cycling , with Dr. Tracy Stanley. The use of storyboarding and how it fits into creative problem solving is covered in this book.

The value in creating a shared vision

The value in creating a shared vision

Creating a shared vision visioning

Creating a vision is essential in any change process because a vision offers us a strong mental image of something we want to create in the future and it can motivate us towards that future. When the vision involves others, then engaging them in a shared vision is extremely valuable. It is more powerful than developing a strategy particularly if it is developed as an image rather than using words.
It is particularly powerful in inspiring people to work collaboratively with leaders and engage in their future.

I was discussing vision recently with a coaching client and was reminded of the work of Marjorie Parker with the Norwegian company, Hydro Aluminum. For me, this  is such a powerful example of creating a vision that worked in very practical terms that I want to share it with you here.

In the 1980ties a new MD was appointed to one of the Norwegian plants, Karmoy Fabrikker (KF) which was coming out of a period of crisis, and Ms Parker was invited in to work with him. As a result of early discussions, a vision was created for a future state of Karmoy. This was based around a garden metaphor that was drawn up by a local artist and was then presented to the workforce to inspire them to design their interpretation of the vision for their parts of the organisation.

As a practical measure of the success of the whole exercise it is noticeable that there was a recorded increase in productivity of 33% over a three year period when the process was developing, and in addition, safety increased and environmental emissions decreased.

So what are the lessons that can be taken from this example? There are many reflections which are included in the book, Creating Shared Vision by Marjorie Parker, and I have noted several here.

  • There was an initial assumption in the company that employees are responsible people, have a desire to make a difference, and that the employer has an obligation to ensure that employees reach their potential.
  • There was an attitude that a long term approach to competitive advantage was needed.
  • Visioning opened up possibilities for all employees within KF to have clear direction and to have permission to discuss the future and how best to organize their work.
  • Employees have taken the opportunity to develop their ideas and have opened up their creativity.

Do you have any examples of creating an inspirational vision to share?