Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Visioneering: The Why

So you've decided that your organization, business unit, or team needs a little innovation. A little spice. Something that will help stave off irrelevance.

Congratulations. You've taken the first step: admitting that you're missing something.

Now for the hard part: taking that thought and executing against it.

Before you can set out and create a world-class organization that gushes with creativity, innovation, or need VISION.

What is vision? It's the ultimate why. As in, "why should we care?" "Why should we do this?" "Why is this so important?" ..."Why should we follow you?" "Why should we trust you?"

Aristotle once said, "the soul never thinks without a picture." That's what a vision is: a clear picture of what could be...what should be. (Incidentally, for those curious about the origins of the word itself, vision in Hebrew roughly translates to "a dream from God.")

Why have a vision to begin with, you ask?

Because there's a problem.

And a the solution to that problem.

But let's back up here, because this is the part where I feel like a lot of organizations screw up the process of visioneering. They don't properly define the problem. It's the classic problem that consultants are confronted with when they start engagements. They have to help clients properly define the RIGHT problem. In some cases, this means correcting previous definitions of what was originally thought to be the problem.

Identifying the problem has an added benefit to the process of visioneering: it engages the minds of the people you're trying to cast the vision to. In fact, the degree to which you can enable people to see the world as you see it...that is the degree to which they will be willing to listen to your solution to the problem.

In other words, by not successfully defining the problem, you can never effectively cast a vision that people in your organization, business unit, or team will follow. After all, why should people even bother if they don't really see the need?

And therein lies, as I've already stated, one of the main purposes of a vision: giving a clear picture of what could be so that people will rally around it and help create what should be. People need to be willing to follow the vision that you cast...otherwise, you will never be able to effectively enact sweeping change.

So...what does visioneering, or the process of creating a vision, have anything to do with ideation?

Because if you ever wish to successfully create a revolution...a movement...a your organization, business unit, or team, you MUST first align them to your vision for ideation.

Without a vision, they won't know the problem. (We're bordering on becoming irrelevant)

Without a vision, they won't see the need. (Our competitors are re-inventing themselves)

Without a vision, they won't know the solution. (We need to re-imagine ourselves)

Without a vision...they won't care like you do. (We're AREN'T fine the way we are!)

And this brings us to the other thing that vision does for all of us: it weaves four (a BIG four) things into the fabric of everything that we do.

1) Passion
2) Motivation
3) Direction
4) Purpose

It's these four things that vision incorporates into our daily routine that makes us care enough to help deliver the solution.

By now, hopefully you have begun to get the idea of "The Why" behind visioneering.

Tomorrow, I will cover "The Who" of visioneering

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