Facilitating Teams through Vision Development

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In the past couple of months, IGNiTE has facilitated a number of workshops to help corporate and non-profit teams develop their vision. We have developed a very effective process for working on vision based on the Harvard Business Review article titled: “Building Your Company’s Vision” by James Collins and Jerry Porras. Collins, by the way, is the author of Good to Great

In the HBR article, the authors construct a model for vision consisting of two arms, the first is termed “Core Ideology” and the second is termed “Envisioned Future.” The core ideology gets to the organization’s core purpose and core values, while the envisioned future articulates the organization’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) –  a goal 5-10 years out, along with a  vivid description of what the future state looks like when the BHAG is accomplished.

At Ignite, our facilitation process provides time for individuals and teams to ponder, discuss and debate what it is they truly value and why they exist. These are the essential core elements of the business or organization and they must come from within. They are enduring qualities that never change.  We help teams build their core purpose from the bottom up — first articulating what it is they do and then looking at WHY they do those things. After a number of “why do you do that” questions, elements of the core purpose emerge and a light bulb goes off.

The majority of the organizations we have worked with are fearful when it comes to creating their BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). It’s a scary prospect to articulate a big goal for the future, even one you’d like to achieve, when you feel you don’t have the resources today to get it done.  To work through this hesitation, we have team members create a vivid description of what the future looks like when the company or organization is operating at its best, looking 5 to 10 years down the road. Collage works well for this but other visualization techniques work too. Once the themes have been collected from the visualizations, it’s easier to pinpoint the BHAG that, if the organization achieves it, the envisioned future will be a reality.Collage of Vivid Description of Vision

The elements described in “Building Your Company’s Vision” are essential to every organization — be it a Fortune 500 company or a small non-profit.  WIthout clarity on who you are and where you are headed, you are operating with blinders on.  A facilitated process works particularly well with vision development as it ensures all team members have the opportunity to voice their individual vision, creates structure and process, and helps bring the team along so steady progress is made. 

— submitted by Cindy Diamond, Principal of Diamond Marketing Solutions & IGNiTE

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