As a key player in your business, you may be looking for efficient ways to grow your organization internally. Executives who spend more time engaged in strategic planning often find more success when implementing organizational changes. Visioning exercises act as a powerful tool in the strategic planning process. When done right, a visioning exercise can help motivate people, provide direction, and encourage commitment. It also generates a sense of hope and a group something attainable to work towards moving forward. Read more about visioning exercises and how they can jumpstart your organization’s strategic planning efforts below.
A Breakdown of Visioning Exercise
A visioning exercise is a process that is quite similar to future projecting (the process of imaging future events). However, with visioning, there is a targeted goal and the exercise is used to help a person create a clear mental picture of their organization’s ideal future.
This future may be in the mid-term, such as five years from now, or later in the long-term, whether 10 or 20 years from now. Visioning exercises require visual perception and the ability to see the bigger picture. When a person is able to think deeply and strategically about the future, they can develop action plans that lay the foundation for how their organization will actualize those objectives, in the present.
Here is a basic example of how visioning works:
- Gather a team in front of a white board. Ask your team to identify various responsibilities, stakeholders, and groups, and write them on the board.
Have each person select an item from the list.
- Tell each person in the group to close their eyes and imagine how they would interact or build a relationship with the stakeholder or group, or how they would best approach the responsibility five years into the future. Remember, this should be a best-case scenario (no dystopias allowed).
- Next, ask your team to draw conclusions about their ideal future for the organization. List these conclusions on the white board and use the information to discuss and clarify present goals and future objectives.
- Finally, have the participants identify the actions the organization needs to achieve these objectives. From there, participants can formulate a strategic plan that highlight all of the steps they need to take to get there.
Key Components of Visioning Exercises
Again, visioning exercises give participants the opportunity to visualize and discuss the future of the organization. However, it is important for the facilitator to dictate what success looks like. For a visualization exercise to be truly successful, some basic information should be given that outlines the situation and creates limitations, allowing participants to essentially fill in the gaps with their own unique point of view.
There are several key components to consider when dictating a visioning exercise. First, you will want to have your participants consider views from customers. Have them visualize what customers might be saying about the organization. Also have them to envision what other employees might be saying. Participants should also consider the views of stakeholders and competitors. What would these individuals say about the organization?
Keep in mind that the primary purpose of a visioning exercise is to allow participants to feel inspired about the future of your organization. A great vision gets everyone in an organization excited about coming to work and encourages them to put forth their best effort. For these reasons, visioning exercises are especially effective as part of the start of a new project or at the beginning of a new year.
Visioning Exercises and Business Growth
In the fast-paced world of business, slowing down to envision ‘what could be’ is often not a high priority. However, when organizations take the time to come up with effective ideas and strategic plans for how to transform their future, they can gain traction and gain a competitive edge over their competition.
Visioning provides a mental image of where you are going, while strategic planning communicates what needs to happen to get there. Strategic planning, in combination with visioning exercises has the potential to jumpstart the transformation of an organization. By having a vision and a plan to get there, all parties involved can come together, actualize stated goals, and get excited about internal growth.
Learn More About Visioning Exercises
It is not always easy to envision what the future will hold, especially for business. However, with visioning techniques (and strategic planning), you can at least plan ahead. Of course, getting started can be challenging unless you know what you’re doing, which is why working with a strategic consultant can help. To learn more visioning exercises and organizational development, or for assistance utilizing these solutions effectively, contact the expert strategic consultant, Brian Cute, at The Eastham Group today!