How Do You Create a Corporate Vision?

Defining an organisational vision can feel like a daunting and sometimes meaningless task.  But it is really only from our individual and combined vision, that we can define our business goals and ensure we are all working toward the same dream.

Let’s explore the simplest way we have found to quickly establish the building blocks of a corporate vision.  For a different way, you might like to read about strategy mapping.

It might sound a little ‘out there’ but a dream or vision board is a visual representation of your biggest hopes and goals – what you want to achieve for yourself and others.  Completing this as individuals allows you to explore your drivers and what you really want.  Which is a powerful exercise by itself.

But by sharing these aspirations as a team and creating a combined vision for your business takes you’re taken into a new dream world.  This is the best basis for creating your strategy – as you will be starting with success in mind, knowing you are working towards the same dream.

An important point here is trust, be comfortable sharing elements from your dream board with others and don’t be limited by what you think other’s might want to see on your dream board.

The more honesty you can bring to this initial session, the more honest the values and vision will be of the resulting discussion, because the dream board is quite literally your future picture of success and represents everything important to you that you are aiming for.

Jelly Bean Diversity

How to create your dream board?

Getting ready

You’re looking for a selection of words, pictures and ideas that will bring your vision to life, so collect a selection of different magazines, publications and newspapers that you don’t mind cutting up.  Or you could try searching for google/bing images relating to key words that are important to you.  Get a large sheet of card or thick paper, a pair of scissors and some glue, blue-tack or tape.

Getting set

Sit back, relax, and start by warming up your visionary brain. Choose some or all of the ‘primers’ below to get into the right frame of mind for visioning!

  • Get idealistic – remove any barriers from your thinking and just dream big
  • Listen to your favourite music.
  • Remember a time when life felt great! Bring back the memory of that specific moment in time and replay it as if you are watching a film of it. Allow yourself to connect with the feeling of it.
  • Think about all the things that you are grateful for, no matter how big or small.
  • Imagine you have somehow gone forward in time and that you are completely happy and successful and have achieved your picture of future success. With your eyes closed, let your imagination roam freely to explore an ideal day in the future – from when you get up in the morning to going to bed at night What are you doing, not doing? What’s it like? What difference are you making? What makes life meaningful? What brings you happiness?

Getting going

Now, start flicking through your magazines and intuitively pick out the pictures and headlines that stand out to you – the things that to you represent your picture of success in some way. Don’t spend any time analyzing it, just allow your ‘gut’ instinct to choose for you! If you do find yourself slipping into thoughts of today or go into problem solving mode, then pause and try one of the primers again before returning to it. Put some inspiring or upbeat music on in the background.

Assemble your pictures and headlines on your large piece of card, sticking them onto it when you sense everything is there as you want it.

Stick it somewhere prominent so you see it regularly. Save it as your screen saver. Put a photo of it by your bed or office desk.

Combining Visions

Once you have your individual visions, begin combining them.  Obviously we can help with this.  Give yourselves plenty of space and time to have a look at each other’s vision, to talk through your vision and to ask questions about anything that seems surprising or doesn’t immediately make sense.

This is the best opportunity to develop a deep sense of shared meaning between the group.  The reason one individual may have an image of say a growing tree on their board, may be vastly different to someone else.

Totem Lollipops

Once you have shared and understood one another’s board, begin looking for common threads, ideas and images that run through all the boards.  Take these commonalities and begin crafting a separate corporate vision board.  Use as many images as you can that show an overlap in ideas and ambitions.

At this point you have the very basics of your corporate vision and it probably looks like a jumbled mess.  But it could get messier, as this is a great time to ask employee’s to contribute their ideas to the vision board.  You’ve created the initial vision and values “framework” at leadership level, and now you asking for employee’s to engage with that with their own ideas.

The upside to this is that your employee’s will naturally feel more involved with any brand, vision or values that result from this work.

Now you’ll need to begin the arduous process of distilling these images and ideas in to simple, preferably single word concepts.  And our advice here is to limit yourself to no more than 6 concepts… we have 5

If you choose, these distilled concepts can become you vision, values or both.  We took our 5 concepts and made them our values, and from this we developed our vision.

Our values describe the way we want to interact with the world around us, our vision is the dot on the horizon we are working towards.