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04 Nov

A vision for all senses


Datum: 2009-11-04 09:27

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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