Make a Vision Poster
It’s often said that you can accomplish anything you can imagine. Well that’s true but it helps a whole lot more when it’s visual.
The Vision Poster idea originated in a consultation session which I was facilitating. I won’t go into the details, but the director of the company had a really great idea, but was rubbish at communicating it to others. The eureka moment was when he said “why can’t they see what I see”, and from there the vision poster was born.
So we started by drawing his vision, literally- but clearly lacking artistic skills. In 20 minutes we were able to depict the vision he had for the program. It wasn’t pretty but it was functional. We took it to the respective project managers and their teams and it just clicked. Everyone got it and even better they had some great input.
Over the years I have replicated this exercise with many clients with success each time. I find the ingredients which make it a success are; imagination, a positive attitude and food. Seriously the sessions we had catered generated the best input from participants. I guess it was to restore the balance; great food in return for ideas.
I have used several variations and the most effective is drawing a “Now” poster first. Here we depict all our issues, challenges and illustrate the current situation. Then launch into the vision poster. Side by side it becomes a great catalyst for change and also promotes what I believe is the most paramount force of all; establishing the “Why”- the project’s reason.
Anytime someone (even the program manager) questions; “Why are we doing this”? We can take explain it very quickly with the vision posters.
Another great variation which actually originated from an initially negative group, was to show the steps required to achieve the vision. In summary after drawing the “Current Situation” poster we were just about to complete the Vision poster and a team member (Electrical Engineer- it’s always the engineer) took the vision poster (which was side by side to the current) to the other side of the room and said- well that’s how far you need to go to get there.
I said great, well what’s required to get from where we are now to where we want to be, which started us listing the key steps. Where did we draw the key steps you ask? yes on the windows of the boardroom!
So steps to making a vision poster:
- Start by having the right people together
- A mix of stakeholders who understand the real issues
- Include end users and those who work with the issues on a daily basis
- Have a short meeting, but have it catered
- I found that the longer sessions weren’t as productive as the shorter ones
- I know having a meeting catered goes against some departmental policies, but if you need to use your coin- it will be worth it
- Assign a scribe
- Maybe someone with a little drawing ability
- It also helps if they are not part of the exercise (less bias)
- Get the current situation down
- Have the stakeholders explain the current situation
- List the issues, the problems
- Also list what is working well
- You don’t want to draw doomsday, but an accurate reflection
- Draw the vision
- What do you want the ideal situation to look like?
- Draw features
- Draw benefits
- Put the posters at a distance from each other to represent the distance to achieve the future
- If there is a lot required, the posters will be far from each other
- If it’s a quick solve they will be closer
- Identify the key steps
- Draw the key steps required to get from the current to the desired
- Put a milestone at the end of each step
- Put the posters on display and task done.
Whenever the program team (or stakeholders) meet, have the posters visible. It is amazing the motivation it provides during meetings, especially when progress has been made towards the goal. Because when you start heading to the vision, no one wants to go back.
What would you include in your vision poster?