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04 Nov

A vision for all senses


Date: 2009-11-04 09:27 Comments: 0 st

In an earlier post we discussed how valuable it is to have a captivating and engaging vision.

As I see it, the vision describes the envisioned, future situation we want to achieve in the company. The vision should truly involve me as a leader and co-worker; it should make me want to spend at least 40 hours per week for x number of years to arrive at the envisioned situation.

So, the vision should evoke some degree of rapture, an excitement, eagerness, a good gut-feeling. The more senses the vision appeals to, the more efficiently it can inspire us.

So, what form should the vision have then? Here are six ideas on how to formulate and communicate the vision.

Bullet-points

In my opinion, bullet-point form is the most commonly used form. An advantage of this form is that the vision becomes rather concrete, but a disadvantage is that it tends to contain goals that are too detailed to be of long-term perspective.

A narrative

Ever since we were young, stories have mesmerized us. Our imagination is triggered when we read literature and we are emotionally moved when reading of dramatic events. The same effect can be achieved by the vision.

Describe it as if it was a story to make it more alive, appealing and easier to get involved in. Describe a normal day in your company five years from now in a narrative. Describe an important symbolic event that truly depicts the transformations you will have made going from now to where you want to go.

A newspaper-article

In the year 2000, Anne M Mulcahy became the president and CEO of Xerox, a company that had had problems for some time and gotten rather beaten up by the press, in particular by the Wall Street Journal.

To rally the staff around the vision and in intention to increase the company morale, she wrote a fictional Wall Street Journal-article dated five years ahead of time. In the article the Wall Street Journal praised Xerox and its staff immensely and wrote admiringly of the progress made in the five years that had passed. The article was an internal success at Xerox and was referred to in all communication between Mulcahy and her staff regarding the company vision.

An image

For quite some years ago, before the cell-phone had had its break-though, the Japanese company NTT-DoCoMo communicated its vision visually by publishing one single image.
In the image, a Japanese Shinkansen (a high-speed train) was emerging from a tunnel. The train was full of people who were all speaking on cell-phones.

The image portrayed the company’s vision of what standards their products and services should live up to in the future: You should be able to use your phone on a moving train going through a tunnel and many people should be able to use their portable phones simultaneously.

A movie


The company NTT-DoCoMo has continued with their visual representations of their vision. You can view a ten minute movie called “The Road to Hokusai’s Waterfall” on their international website which depicts what services they wish and strive to be able to offer in the future.

I can highly recommend it, it is absolutely fascinating.

An experience

So, what is then the ultimate, most enrapturing form of the vision?

Isn’t it to experience with all senses what the vision truly represents, to be transported to the envisioned final destination for a moment or two? What would it be like if we with light and sound, taste and smell, sight and tactile sensations created an environment and activity which lets us experience the achieved vision?

How are we as employees of the company received by outsiders? How do our clients perceive us? What is the atmosphere in the office? What are the sounds and smells? What kinds of food are we eating in our office? What do our daily routines consist of?

I believe that the all-embracing experience which involves as many senses as possible is the best and most powerful method in communicating the future situation we wish to achieve.

If you want to, take a moment to contemplate on the vision of your company. In what form would you prefer to portray it? In the present form or does another form suit it better?

What are your thoughts?

How do you imagine the vision to be best portrayed? Leave a comment below. I am always curious to hear what others are thinking. I might get inspired myself and even share your thoughts with others.

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