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Visioning activities


The short session - in total 2 1/2 hours is for the board to work on 1: reaching a common understanding of the terms 'mainstreaming and sustainability'
2. transforming this into a vision of the organisation in the next 1 - 5 years

The partnership board is made up of statutory and voluntary sectors and there is also a users membership.

Does anyone have any good ideas for 'visioning' activities that could appeal to a broad range of abilities and backgrounds?

5 Responses

  1. a starter activity
    An exercise I have used at the start of Visioning works well to help define where everyone perceives the organisationt o be now and identifies key positives and issues. It’s really simple. You need butchers paper and lots of coloured pens. Ask them the question:
    “If our organisation was a dog, what sort of dog would it be – and why?” They work in pairs or 3s. Give them 5 minutes to think individually about the question, then in their pairs they share their thoughts. They discuss the similarities and differences in their perceptions. They then draw a picture of the “dog” which often comes across as an amalgam of a whole lot of different characteristics. the posters are then put up ont he wall and discussed – and left there for the rest of the seesion and referred back to throughout the session. Following the discussion of what they came up with – the next question is what sort of dog would we like our organisation to be – and why?

    A good practical reference on Visioning is Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook.

  2. Creating a Vision
    Try and get hold of an article “Visioning: The Concept, Trilogy, and Process”, by John R. Latham, that appeared in ‘Quality Progress’ journal (April 1995).
    It is the best description of ‘how to’ that I have seen (and used!).
    Latham does though issue a warning that “A vision without a plan, however, is only a dream.” This is backed up by Peter Scholtes who stated that “There is a difference between having a vision and suffering from an hallucination.”
    Are you sure 2.1/2 hours will do this subject justice?

  3. Vision References
    Two sources that I’ve used before for visioning material are:

    The Leader’s Guide, ISBN 1-55571-538-9 (Chapter 16 is all about setting visions).

    The ASTD Trainer’s Sourcebook – Leadership (ISBN 0-07-053439-X (contains activities on setting visions).

  4. Pertinent approach
    Hi Sian,

    Firstly, I would echo a few of the comments from below – ‘are you allowing enough time’, and ‘you need a plan’.

    Creating the vision has to be made pertinent to the business as it exists – knowing where you are now – and the business as desired – where you want to be. The vision HAS to encompass the plan of how you get there or it is (as another correspondent suggested) just a dream.

    Which ever system or process you choose I strongly suggest that you get a facilitator in to help you extract the salient information from the group – definitions, where you percieve you are now, where you want to be and the differences. I would think that would be as far as you’d get – basically a wish-list.

    You would then have to explore those wishes and their feasibility further.
    You are basically drilling down through the concepts of what will make your organisation be what you desire it to be.


  5. Another approach to this problem
    While visioning may be appropriate, I would have tried a practical approach with a facilitator asking tough real-life questions to help find where the board differ and need to gain consensus. Bladonmore would often use journalists for this sort of incisive work.

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