It’s A New Year, A New You-What is Your Vision for the Future?

VISION

 

I think it’s easy to see why someone who has the power to imagine, to be creative, to posit alternatives in a coherent way that others can understand, is going to be more influential than someone who can’t. There’s been a lot of discussion and refinement of the notion of “vision” in the past ten years or so. A vision is your picture of a desired state of affairs at some point in the future. A vision provides a way for people to agree on goals and how they’ll be met. With so much change going on, it’s become more and more necessary to envision the way we’d like things to be. Without a vision, we get lost in the trivia of daily life, or swamped by the feeling of being out of control. Let’s imagine there are 3 people looking at an open field just outside the city limits.

 

  • One person sees a baseball diamond for kids to play on.
  • Another sees a mini-mall with convenient little shops to stop at on the way home to the suburbs.
  • The third person sees the perfect place for low-income housing.

 

Those 3 are very different visions. Yet, assuming that this plot of land is waiting to be developed, someone’s vision will win out.

My point is, nothing happens without a vision to guide the way. We all have visions. They’re usually born from some need. You have books and papers lying all over the floor, and you envision a nice new bookcase against the wall.

You can see that your mail room personnel are very busy at certain times of the day, and at other times they’re all sitting around telling jokes. So you envision a system where their work is scheduled in a much more productive way.

When the senior management at the Steelcase Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan, decided to reorganize their company, they began with a vision of a company where everyone’s talents and energies were fully engaged. They decided that the traditional corporate building they were in wouldn’t allow for that, so they envisioned a flat, spacious headquarters. Construction on the Corporate Development Center began in 1986. When it opened in 1989 it had seven levels with large areas where multi-discipline teams could meet. There were no separate departments for different functions. Executives are clustered around the center of the building where everyone has easy access to them. And there’s even an escalator so people can talk to each other while changing floors. What’s important to note is that the Steelcase’s Corporate Development Center began with a vision of how they wanted things to be.

How would you go about developing a vision that would be attractive to other people? Here’s the starting point: “What-if” questions. “What-if questions get your imagination and thinking going. One thing that all creative thinkers know is that you don’t limit yourself at this first stage. Don’t assume any rules or limitations. Don’t say: “What if we could pull off this project with only 4 people,” and then immediately stop yourself by saying: “No, that’s stupid. It’ll never work.” In A Whack on the Side of the Head, Roger von Oech suggests you start the juices flowing by asking yourself: “What if gravity stopped for one second every day?” What would happen to oceans and rivers? How would houses be designed? What would happen if you were eating an ice cream cone during that one second?

That’s a great example of suspending the rules and allowing yourself to play in the realm of the possible. Von Oech calls it “getting into a germinal frame of mind.” That’s like a garden bed with rich, black dirt where seeds get a good start on germination. What-if questions allow you to free yourself from deeply ingrained assumptions you have about how things are usually done.

Von Oech also addresses the issue of the impractical. Sure, a lot of your early “what-if” speculations are going to be utterly impractical. But embedded within the impractical is often a seed of practicality. He cites one example where an engineer at a large chemical company did a “what-if by suggesting that they mix gunpowder into their paint products. Then when the surface needed repainting, they could blow the old paint off of it.

Now that’s not very practical. But it did open up the idea of having something within the paint that allowed for it to be removed easily. The engineer’s what-if question opened up everyone’s thinking about putting additives in the paint. One additive would be in the paint when you bought it. It would be inert until another substance was spread on the surface. When the two chemicals interacted – bingo (!) the paint would come off easily. The company went to work on making that vision a reality.

Again, the point is stopping your critical judge from coming in too early on the process. The part of each of us that says: “That’ll never work,” is always present, ready to speak up. Let the creative, innovative visionary in you come out and play.

Visions are born for all sorts of reasons: to make money, to end a problem, to improve a situation, to create an alternative, to have more fun. Some people have visions where other people see only problems or nothing at all.

What would you build on that empty field outside of town? Let’s help each other this year-what’s your vision? Share and we’ll pass along a gift to the first 10 who do!

 

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About Assessment Business Center
Dr. Tony Alessandra has a street-wise, college-smart perspective on business, having been raised in the housing projects of NYC to eventually realizing success as a graduate professor of marketing, entrepreneur, business author, and hall-of-fame keynote speaker. He earned a BBA from the Univ. of Notre Dame, an MBA from the Univ. of Connecticut and his PhD in marketing from Georgia State University. In addition to being president of Assessment Business Center, a company that offers online 360º assessments, Tony is also a founding partner in The Cyrano Group and Platinum Rule Group--companies which have successfully combined cutting-edge technology and proven psychology to give salespeople the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with hundreds of clients and prospects. Dr. Alessandra is a prolific author with 27 books translated into over 50 foreign language editions, including the newly revised, best selling The NEW Art of Managing People (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2008); Charisma (Warner Books, 1998); The Platinum Rule (Warner Books, 1996); Collaborative Selling (John Wiley & Sons, 1993); and Communicating at Work (Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1993). He is featured in over 50 audio/video programs and films, including Relationship Strategies (American Media); The Dynamics of Effective Listening (Nightingale-Conant); and Non-Manipulative Selling (Walt Disney). He is also the originator of the internationally-recognized behavioral style assessment tool - The Platinum Rule®. Recognized by Meetings & Conventions Magazine as "one of America's most electrifying speakers," Dr. Alessandra was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985. In 2009, he was inducted as one of the “Legends of the Speaking Profession,” in 2010 and 2011 he was selected as one of the Top 5 Marketing Speakers by Speaking.com, and in 2010 Tony was elected into the inaugural class of the Sales Hall of Fame. Tony's polished style, powerful message, and proven ability as a consummate business strategist consistently earn rave reviews and loyal clients. Contact information for Dr. Tony Alessandra: • Dr. Tony’s Products: http://www.alessandra.com/products/index.asp • Keynote Speeches: Holli Catchpole: Phone: 1-760-603-8110 ● Email: Holli@SpeakersOffice.com • Corporate Training: Scott Zimmerman: Phone: 1-330-848-0444 x2 ● Email: Scott@PlatinumRuleGroup.com • Cyrano CRM System: Scott Zimmerman: Phone: 1-330-848-0444 x2 ● Email: Scott@PlatinumRuleGroup.com

8 Responses to It’s A New Year, A New You-What is Your Vision for the Future?

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