Two of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal as human beings is our ability to envision a desired future and to find agreement for that vision. As leaders, it is incumbent on us to facilitate a group vision for our organization that our teams can join and agree to follow. The simple act of agreement creates a forward momentum that is absolutely powerful and allows opportunity to show itself so that our vision can manifest. It is the very reason I love strategic planning. I love envisioning the future, getting excited about what is possible, and supporting my client organizations to come together in agreement about what is needed to make that vision real. It is my gift.
The Process of Reaching Agreement
First, the group scans its environment and shares what they see, creating a group picture. That picture conceptualizes the situation the group finds itself in. They can then pay attention to the forces for change and the forces for sameness. The leader or facilitator, in my case, watches as the energy mobilizes and the group starts to find places of commitment to the vision they are creating. Once that energy mobilizes, the group will naturally move to action. The boundaries will shift or change as the impact of their action is felt or realized. Then the group can move to assessment and closure. As the group learns, the withdrawal of energy evolves and is available for something new – the next thing.
When the group allows themselves to dream about a future that is perfectly suited for them, there is an excitement that builds. Once they agree (commitment), there is an energy that starts to move in each member as they ask the question – what needs to be done to make this vision a reality? It is my job to shepherd the process, make sure everyone’s voice is heard, that they don’t skip or rush over any part of the process. This allows the leader and me to keep everyone on the bus, making sure there is enough momentum for the group to be ready to move to action by the end. Sometimes that means we have a really detailed process while some organizational cultures dictate a loose action plan that gets people started. You can see more details about the process in the Gestalt OSD Center’s theory called Cycle of Experience and The 6 Triangles of Change.
What I know about people is that everyone wants to feel they have contributed, and they have been heard. Everyone wants to see that their ideas have been considered. This process certainly is longer than when the leader just announces their vision and plan. However, sometimes when you go slow and get everyone involved in creating the vision and the strategy, you can move faster because there is less resistance to whatever changes are needed. The benefit is that you don’t have to sell the plan, everyone was part of the discussions and knows the reason behind the decisions. They have accepted and agreed to the plan through the process and are ready to make changes to achieve the desired outcomes.
This is my preferred way to work. It is the most effective and efficient way to work in my opinion. This is why I use the Technology of Participation (ToP) strategic planning process integrated with Gestalt OSD theory and practice so that everyone is involved and can see how they contributed to the plan.
We are ending the first quarter of the year. In our fast-changing world, it is a good time to plan and manifest your vision for the future.