Visualization, the power of creating a new reality devoid of the constraints of the past, requires us to look beyond the horizon and dig deep into our conscience. It’s a critical component of strategy development that helps materialize break through thinking and enlist large groups towards a common vision. Despite its obvious value and the numerous examples where it has been used successfully, many leaders find it difficult to exercise it in their personal lives or within their teams. This blog discusses visualization techniques and how to use them to overcome constraints to success:
Participants bring strong pre-conceptions to a visualization exercise that influence their ability to stretch the imagination. These preconceptions translate into an internal dialogue that goes like this:
- “this is a waste of time, I have emails to tend to.”
- “We have done this before, nothing gets implemented.”
- “How much are we paying these consultants…for what?”
- “Wonder what’s for lunch…”
An internal dialogue on mundane realities, constraints and skepticism cannot, and will not, unleash the full power of visualization. The facilitator has to work early and quickly to overcome these attitudes using “break through” workshops, motivational videos, inspirational props or advance exercises focused on self-exploration.
Individual visualization uses very different methods to group visualization. In working with individuals one can focus on a singular operational mode allowing for a deep exploration of possibilities. On the other hand, working with groups allows for a wider and broader range of exploration and generates a group dynamic that carries beyond the workshop.
A way to bring the deep richness of individual interaction into the group workshop is to work with individuals in advance, allow for individual introspection during the group exercise, encourage sharing and if the situation allows, use interactive probing techniques to draw out the individual as they share with the group.
While visualization can be peaceful and calming, in many cases it tends to create restlessness and drive to action. There is an energy that comes from creating a possibility tempered by an abiding knowledge that work needs to be done. To fully realize the power of visualization, it is critical that appropriate follow-up is conducted to maintain the freshness of the possibility and focus the drive of the team.