As I shared in the first article in this series, the turn of the year is a great time for fresh vision or to re-gain clarity and momentum around a past goal.
As we move into December and toward the end of the year, there’s little more powerful than writing a “Richly Imagined Future” letter to our teams, family, spouse, organization, or even ourselves.
While I had heard about and seen this done in the past (my dad did it for many years at Block Imaging), attending a ZingTrain Leadership Seminar shed led on the importance and keys to crafting a richly imagined future letter.
Because the vision is often cast “into” the future, this exercise is different in that it is written from a future date and provides a rich and textured look back at all that we’ve accomplished and become.
Over the next couple of weeks, Block Imaging’s Leadership Team will be crafting a future vision letter for the next year. While in the past we’ve looked ahead 5 or even 10 years, with the unimaginable challenges 2020 has brought about, the dynamic speed of change within the healthcare technology arena, and our team’s unique ability to accelerate change, we’ve decided to carry a shorter time horizon into this letter.
Side note: it’s entirely possible to complete two-time horizons simultaneously (one year and 10 years) OR to write a vision casting letter to the organization on a time horizon of 2 years and a letter to family or yourself looking back from 10 years into the future.
Regardless of the audience or time horizon, here are what I believe to be the critical elements to create a vision casting letter that stirs:
Like a good movie, the words and imagery need to take us into the story and across to the other side of history. Vivid imagery is foundational to helping people feel and imagine themselves within the story.
It’s important to convey that we won’t be able to get here with the status quo. It will require an added measure of _________ to accomplish this. It could be creativity, discipline, resilience, courage, honor, or belief. Just as vivid imagery helps people to feel and imagine the journey, stretching language is important in leading to the question, “what is my part in making this vision a reality?”
In order for people to jump in and participate, beyond vivid imagery and stretching language, it has to be worth the sacrifice of the change and effort to chase the vision. Ultimately, we’re looking to get to what MOVES both the leaders and the team. For some, it’s making it bigger or more profitable and for others, it’s creating a place for people to grow and thrive. In order to write a vision that moves people to engagement and action, it has to compelling.
People don’t tend to galvanize around investing in something that they don’t believe is possible. We’re looking for enough challenge to stretch and yet not looking for people to dunk on a 50-foot high basketball hoop.
One leader to another, I can’t encourage you enough to give it a try. Crafting a vision is risky. No one knows the future (2020 made sure to let us know that) and it’s a remarkable vulnerable exercise. After all, what if the people reject the vision? All I know to ask in return is, “if they’re part of your team and following you now, what could happen if there was a clear and compelling vision for them to be a part of?”
If you’d like to send a draft or receive help or encouragement in drafting a richly imagined future vision, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to discuss or review.
Cheers to living in the present while leading into the future!!!