Standards for Vision Statements

A Discussion Thread

IT'S been said, "leaders bring vision, faith, and courage to coordinated activity." These days, vision statements are common in strategic planning. When leaders provide a vision statement, itís often to get people working toward the same objectives, using common approaches, with the same motivation.

Despite the popularity of vision statements, there is no one accepted standard for writing them. Planners still have long discussions about their proper purpose, format, and content. What follows is an informative thread of discussions on the appropriate content of vision statements from the Electronic Discussion on Group Facilitation

This thread is provided by Ken Kuskey, 3 July 1996.

Date:    Wed, 22 May 1996 14:44:58 -0600
Subject: Values and vision

Trish Montagnino writes: "Does anyone have ideas of how to work with a senior management team to develop their organizational values and a vision for their organization?" ----------------------------------------------------

I do a lot of this, and it is quite straight forward.

First, you must determine the purpose or function of the organizational unit under consideration. Then you should consider the goals or broad benefits expected from accomplishment of that purpose. Only then should you establish the values, which are really just constraints that you impose on the vision, plan or solution.

Once this is done you should tackle the vision--What it is that we really intend to do if we only can. Base this "ideal target solution" on the purpose, and use your goals and values only as selection criteria for choosing among the best of the alternative visions.

Avoid, as the trash that they are, any statements like "to be the best, a successful and innovative people place where we grow and prosper in a competitive and ethical environment."

Now, carry on and begin to identify the specific measurable achievable relevant and time based tasks (SMART) or objectives that will move you as close as possible to your target vision. Without this last step, you have done little more than carry out a public relations activity, saved for use in the front of the annual report, but never used by real managers.

I have a little 4-page "mission dictionary" that I would be pleased to send to you if you will send a self-addressed and stamped (Canadian stamps, or $2.00 US) 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" envelope.

Alan Scharf, Futurist and President
Scharf and Associates Creative Leap International
1137 Elliott Street, Saskatoon, SK. Canada S7N 0V4
Email:  Tel: 306/244-4164  Fax: 306/652-0633

Date:    Wed, 22 May 1996 17:39:50 -0500
From:    Dutch Driver 
Subject: Re: Values and vision

After reading Alan's reply, I am reminded of a story (from Tom Peters?) about the CEO at a cosmetic company (Max Factor, I think) who identified their purpose was to sell hope (a cultural value).

I would say that vision begins with a cultural value, like selling hope, that appeals to the market-at-large (this puts the customer/consumer in the picture from the get-go), followed by the organization's purpose in meeting that cultural value, then the mission statement to reach that purpose. Then, the products/services necessary to achieve the mission, purpose and the vision. Finally, the targets to necessary to finish the product/services and deliver them to the customers/consumers.

For example, an air-conditioner manufacturer might decide they are selling comfort. Or a micro-wave manufacturer might decide they are selling time. A VCR manufacturer could decide that they are selling both time and comfort.

You might want to have the executives identify their customers/consumers, and then ask them WHY (motivation) for those customers/consumers to buy/need/use their product or services.

As I hope you can see, there is a progression from the extreme abstraction of a cultural value present in the market-at-large and is translated though the organization's vision, purpose, mission, goals, targets, products/services, customers/consumers.

Notice where the is singular and plurals in the process. Plurals are the junctures where conflicts can be expected, and sometimes encouraged. Yet, every strategic decision made in the organization begins with an implicit cultural value and ends with the customer/consumer. The vision just makes the value explicit removing any hidden assumptions.

All this should lead to an alignment between the cultural value, the organization's products/services, and the consumers/customers in one integrated package that sets the outside parameters for the decision-making process of an organization's personnel.

Date:    Thu, 23 May 1996 09:09:40 -0400
From:    Gandeic 
Subject: Re: Values and vision

We have a somewhat different view of values than that expressed as "...just constraints that you impose on a vision."

We tend to get the organizational/group values out on the table early and agreed to as part of our processes for strategic development. We have found that they can be used very successfully later on to anchor a group back to the same page when the group begins to haggle over how to operationalize a vision. That is, they help us refocus people who otherwise split when they start discussing constraints to achieving a vision.

This may be a semantic misunderstanding, but though I'd throw it out.

Date:    Thu, 23 May 1996 16:08:48 +0100
From:    Gerard M Blair 
Subject: That VISION thing

One of the most cited characteristics of successful managers is that of vision. Of all the concepts in modern management, this is the one about which the most has been written. Of course different writers use it in different ways. One usage brings it to mean clairvoyance as in: "she had great vision in foreseeing the demise of that market". This meaning is of no use to you since crystal balls are only validated by hindsight and this article is concerned with your future.

The meaning of vision which concerns you as a manager is: a vivid idea of what the future should be. This has nothing to do with prediction but everything to do with hope. It is a focus for the team's activity, which provides sustained long-term motivation and which unites your team. A vision has to be something sufficiently exciting to bind your team with you in common purpose. This implies two things:

  1. you need to decide where your team is headed
  2. you have to communicate that vision to them

Communicating a vision is not simply a case of painting it in large red letters across your office wall (although, as a stunt, this actually might be quite effective), but rather bringing the whole team to perceive your vision and to begin to share it with you. A vision, to be worthy, must become a guiding principle for the decision and actions of your group.

Now, this vision thing, it is still a rather nebulous concept, hard to pin down, hard to define usefully; a vision may even be impractical (like "zero defects"). And so there is an extra stage which assists in its communication: once you have identified your vision, you can illustrate it with a concrete goal, a mission. Which leads to the creation of the famous "mission statement". Let us consider first what is a mission, and then return to a vision.

A mission has two important qualities:

  1. it should be tough, but achievable given sufficient effort
  2. it must be possible to tell when it has been achieved
  3. To maintain an impetus, it might also have a time limit so that people can pace their activity rather than getting winded in the initial push.

The scope of your vision depends upon how high you have risen in the management structure, and so also does the time limit on your mission statement. Heads of multinational corporations must take a longer view of the future than the project leader in divisional recruitment; the former may be looking at a strategy for the next twenty-five years, the latter may be concerned with attracting the current crop of senior school children for employment in two-three years. Thus a new manager will want a mission which can be achieved within one or two years.

Once you have established a few possible mission statements, you can try to communicate (or decide upon) your vision. This articulates your underlying philosophy in wanting the outcomes you desire. Not, please note, the ones you think you should desire but an honest statement of personal motivation; for it is only the latter which you will follow with conviction and so of which you will convince others. In general, your vision should be unfinishable, with no time limit, and inspirational; it is the driving force which continues even when the mission statement has been achieved. Even so, it can be quite simple: Walt Disney's vision was "to make people happy". As a manager, yours might be something a little closer to your own team: mine is "to make working here fun".

There is no real call to make a public announcement of your vision or to place it on the notice board. Such affairs are quite common now, and normally attract mirth and disdain. If your vision is not communicated to your team by what you say and do, then you are not applying it yourself. It is your driving motivation - once you have identified it, act on it in every decision you make.

Gerard M Blair, Senior Lecturer, The Department of Electrical Engineering,
The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Management home page:

Date:    Thu, 23 May 1996 11:49:42 -0600
Subject: Re: That VISION thing

Gerard Blair writes: "Walt Disney's vision was "to make people happy". As a manager, yours might be something a little closer to your own team: mine is "to make working here fun".

Actually neither of these are visions, but goals, which are defined as benefits, results, motivating justifiers, broader purposes. Goals answer why we want to accomplish our purpose and what we expect to get out of it (happy people).

Vision, on the other hand, is the broad how--the actions and processes for accomplishing our purpose. (I am going to buy some land in Florida and fill it with wonderful rides and displays, and people.)

Visions are what we really intend to happen, towards which we are acting today. Vision does not answer what or why, but how. Vision follows purpose or mission. A vision without a purpose is just wishful thinking.

These two definitions are from my mission dictionary. The world of purposeful words is a semantic jungle. The only way to sort it out for your self is to write all these words (mission, purpose, goals, values, objectives, aims, targets, activities, outputs, slogans and mottoes) on a single piece of paper along with their individual definitions, and then examine them for consistency and clarity, and to test them against real statements which you analyze.

When you have a rational set of definitions, its OK to erase all the purposeful words and use any word that suits your purpose. It is the definitions that matter, not the labels.

I would challenge you to take eight dictionaries and look up the words I have listed and write down each definition you find on a post-it note. Then give these notes to a second person and ask them to match them against the words. Good fun.

For most English words, where there are universally agreed definitions, this is not necessary.

Alan Scharf, Futurist and President
Scharf and Associates Creative Leap International
1137 Elliott Street, Saskatoon, SK. Canada S7N 0V4
Email:  Tel: 306/244-4164  Fax: 306/652-0633

Date:    Thu, 23 May 1996 15:02:36 +0000
From:    Robert Bacal 
Subject: Re: That VISION thing

There are obviously multiple ways to come at the definitions and activities for same, regarding what we usually include in an integrated strategic/tactical planning process. I don't think there is any right or wrong, but here's our approach.

Vision: The imagined/desired future for the organization, that is developed through free-form discussion, imagining, visualization, and is not constrained by any specific areas (could include customer perceptions, productivity, internal stuff, etc.).

Mission: a short statement of purpose/intent, and a general statement of how those are achieved (services, products, etc.), and including values that have emerged in the vision. Mission usually a more here and now statement, but not restricted to the present.

Goals: more specific outcomes (eg. increase market share by x% by..).

Objectives: goals broken down into more doable components, to ultimately be parcelled out.

The questions:

  1. What is our imagined future?
  2. Given our imagined future and the values inherent in it, what is our mission (aimed at achieving our common vision)?
  3. Given our mission, what do we need to achieve that falls within our mission and brings us closer to our vision.
  4. Given our goals, what objectives must we have to bring the goals to fruition?

There's more to the process (external and internal audits, for example), but that's how we do it (sorta).

Robert Bacal, CEO, Institute For Cooperative Communication, Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
(204 888-9290.

Date:    Mon, 27 May 1996 11:04:23 0100
From:    Gerard M Blair 
Subject: Re: That VISION thing

Alan Scharf writes to correct my definition of Vision. He provides two definitions which include the idea that Vision must have a "HOW" as part of it: "the actions and processes for accomplishing our purpose". Fortunately, he also suggests that there would be great difficulty in agreeing distinct definitions for a variety of related management concepts such as: "mission, purpose, goals, values, objectives, aims, targets, activities, outputs, slogans and mottoes".

In this semantic melee it is futile to dispute "correct" meaning and we must therefore try to use words in such a way as to convey our intent. Thus if a word has different current meanings we must be careful to explain our intended meaning. This I did at some length in my previous posting.

Some trainers (and I do not mean Alan) use their own definition of these words as a means to the training: thus explaining a group of concepts as "this word" to fix them clearly in the trainee's mind. For the general audience, however, (one not already "trained" in a specific meaning) we must allow for a greater flexibility in both usage and interpretation.

My Oxford English Dictionary has 7 meanings of vision:

  1. the act or faculty of seeing
  2. a thing or person seen in a dream or trance
  3. a thing or idea perceived vividly in the imagination
  4. imaginative insight
  5. statesmanlike foresight; sagacity in planning
  6. a person etc. of unusual beauty
  7. what is seen on the television screen

Plenty of fodder there for building courses for the common manager.

Gerard M Blair, Senior Lecturer, The Department of Electrical Engineering,
              The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Email:   -  Home page:

Date:    Fri, 24 May 1996 23:46:04 -0500
From:    Dutch Driver 
Subject: Re: Values and vision

On Fri, 24 May 1996, Mike Freedman wrote:

> Vision is tied to a date. In 2001 what are you, and what are you celebrating?

After a good addition to the thread, I would add that the date you are using is constricts just a bit. Possibly, you might want to free up the time horizon and ask a question similar to "What constants will your successor use to make their decisions with?" This is a particularly insidious question because the value of money is not a constant.

Visions often emerge if you push the time horizons to the 10, 25, 50 years out mark. Another method is to ask the executives what will be their lasting legacy to the organization. What do they want to be remembered for?

Date:    Fri, 24 May 1996 13:09:23 -0800
From:    Alan Lawrie 
Subject: Re: That VISION thing

There is a danger of the discussion around vision - mission - goals - aims getting bogged down in a debate over the exact meaning of the terms used. The senior people in many organizations that I have contact with keep papering the walls with flashy mission statements that give no real focus or clarity. People do not take them seriously unless they have been involved in the process that led up to the statement or unless there is a real follow through on the specifics.

A useful way to get people to think about the "why are we here" questions is to draw a distinction between ends and means. Most of our workplaces have laboured so hard at the means that we have lost any sense of the ends. I think that this is a particular problem in the public sector.

Date:    Fri, 24 May 1996 08:02:50 -0400
From:    Richard Yun 
Subject: values/vision

Trish Montagnino wrote: Does anyone have ideas of how to work with a senior management team to develop their organizational values and a vision for their organization?

Some rather disjointed thoughts:

A good introductory video - "The Power of Vision" with Joel Baker

It's not what vision IS, it's what vision DOES.

Sometimes it is more powerful to develop the organization's vision and values from the individual vision and values of the group rather than developing it first and then asking people to buy into it. In other words, ask people for their own personal vision of what kind of place they individually want to work at, clarify that, then look for the commonality among the group and use that to develop the group's vision and then a vision for the whole organization. That way, the organization's vision is rooted in the personal visions of the members.

Too often I have seen groups come up with some great motherhood visions "We want to be the best, industry leader, world class, something or other" and then put it on the wall and promptly forget it.

Sometimes it is easier to come up with "vision elements" rather than a vison statement. That is to say, leave it in semi-raw form. For example: "We want to, be a fun place to work, be financially successful, have a reputation for being great to do business with, have great products, be THE place to work for the top grads from XYZ university, etc."

It would be tempting to try to condense it all into a short statement, but many times you lose a lot in the distillation.

Richard Yun
366 King Street, Kincardine, Ontario N2Z 1W3

Date:    Fri, 24 May 1996 14:48:49 -0400
From:    Mike Freedman 
Subject: Re: Values and vision

from Alan Scharf:

> I do a lot of this, and it is quite straight forward.

> First, you must determine the purpose or function of the organizational unit under consideration. Then you should consider the goals or broad benefits expected from accomplishment of that purpose. Only then should you establish the values, which are really just constraints that you impose on the vision, plan or solution.

> Once this is done you should tackle the vision..."


There are many roads to Rome...and I call mine VP.VP. It's the acronym for: Values, Purpose, Vision, Priorities.

I believe that most company problems and myopia come from value misalignment and value vagueness.

I encourage the senior team to agree on 3 values that will become their corporate glue.

Then what is their Purpose? How do they intend to make the world a slightly better place?

Vision is tied to a date. In 2001 what are you, and what are you celebrating?

Priorities: Monday morning rolls around...what are you going to do differently to achieve your vision?

VP.VP is a process that flows from theoretical to practical.

What thinkest the brains trust?

Mike Freedman
Ziko Strategies

Date:    Fri, 24 May 1996 14:59:29 -0400
From:    "Sandor P. Schuman" 
Subject: Re: values/vision

I generally take "vision" quite literally. Here is an example of a "Time Machine" elicitation protocal I often use:

           "City of Troy - A Vision of the Future"
                   A Pictorial Travelogue

Imagine that you are transported fifteen years into the future, to the year 2009, to visit the City of Troy. To your delight you find that the city appears just as you hoped it would be. On your visit you have the opportunity to examine all of the things that are important to you. With your instant camera you take pictures of various scenes that capture the essence of the city and reflect the changes you had hoped would occur.

During the lengthy return trip back to 1994 you tape an index card to the bottom of each picture and write a caption on the card. You hope to publish your pictorial travelogue "City of Troy - A Vision of the Future."

To your dismay you find on your arrival home that the pictures have disintegrated. Fortunately, however, your written captions have survived intact.

Please bring your captions with you to the Management Seminar on November 19. Each caption is written on a separate 3x5 index card.

Prepared by S. Schuman,
Executive Decision Services                             10/28/94
Sandor P. Schuman    Albany, New York

Date:    Fri, 24 May 1996 16:30:08 -0700
From:    John Walker 
Subject: Re: values/vision

Although there are many variations, I'm pleasantly surprised to see the proximity between the various definitions of Vision/values here. Here's my version of the same ideas.

Mission/Purpose defines an organization's generalized niche: its business and arena of operation, as well perhaps as some generalized goals ("to be the best").

Values are derived from a closer look at the individuals currently defining the organization; they are the strong, common vein of belief and drive that run through this group. Values are a primary source of strong motivation for the group.

A Vision is a specific medium range goal (measurable and deliverable; is timed {too quick = a plan; too long = fantasy}), that symbolizes achievement of the values and the mission.

Ideally, the Vision cashes in on the strong drive that people have to realize their values; its achievement represents not a simple execution of their current level of ability, but a "stretch". This process results in a beneficial change of the group.

The trick in defining a Vision with a group is to ensure that they have clarity about their values (many groups don't) identification with them, and hence commitment to them. If the values are not clear, the commitment will falter, and the Vision will become another failure.

The facilitator in Vision setting has to do a careful job in encouraging a Vision that the group will really achieve (even if it isn't much more than a plan), rather than a fantasy which everyone will give up on after a year.

John Walker, Facilitator               Phone: (604) 980-9448
Ethika Performance Enhancement           Vancouver, B.C

Date:    Wed, 29 May 1996 15:01:08 GMT
From:    Ken Kuskey 
Subject: Re: visions

Can we relate "vision" to management theory?

Robert House's path-goal theory of leadership proposes that managers can facilitate job performance by showing employees how their performance directly affects their receiving desired rewards. By showing employees not only the goals they must achieve to be rewarded, but the paths they can take to achieve the goals, the employees are more sure of receiving their rewards. Hence it makes sense to give employees a "vision of success" that includes both a goal (what) and a path (how) that will help them achieve the goal. By theory, this will motivate employees more than giving them the goal alone.

Path-goal theory recognizes that appropriate leadership behavior depends on the actual situation. In some cases, a statement of the goal itself may be enough, and you delegate the "how" to the employees to figure out on their own. At the other extreme, you may need to tell employees how to tie their shoes as they start on their way to work.

Robert Tannenbaum and Warren Schmidt's theory of the "leadership continuum" proposes that the work situation leads to a mixture of boss-centered and employee-centered leadership styles. The leadership style tends toward employee-centered when subordinates seek independence and freedom of action, are well educated and experienced, seek responsibility for decisions, expect to participate in decisions, and understand and commit themselves to the objectives of the organization. In such cases, a vision should connect to the broad, strategic objectives of the organization, thus ensuring that subordinates will believe the detailed, specific goals described in the vision are important.

In summary, to motivate subordinates who are committed to common objectives, I think a vision should include, to a greater or lesser extent, three parts:


Date:    Wed, 29 May 1996 15:11:51 GMT
From:    Ken Kuskey 
Subject: Re: vision, part 2

In summary, I have bought into this idea, which I didn't originate, but which I think is supported by management theory about motivating people in organizations:

A vision should include three topics, covered in more or less detail, appropriate to the organizational situation:

  1. WHAT is to be accomplished, described well enough so that one can tell if it happens to be accomplished
  2. WHY it is important to be accomplished, described in terms of the overall objectives of the organization
  3. HOW it can be accomplished, described in terms of the approaches and constraints that everyone will work with and within.

For an example of a vision organized more or less as described, you can look at


Date:    Wed, 29 May 1996 15:16:47 GMT
From:    Ken Kuskey 
Subject: Re: vision, part 3

Sorry for the discontinuities. I'm new at this.

An example of a vision that includes What, Why, and How, is the Department of Defense's Science and Technology Strategy, which you can find at

Date:    Wed, 29 May 1996 12:45:00 -0400
From:    GreggGull 
Subject: Re: values/vision

As with several of the other writers my experience with visioning is: The process is great and the product is usually weak (it does not energize those who were not at the visioning meeting).

Often use Eisenhower's quote: "Plans are nothing; planning is everything."

That doesn't mean the vision is not useful; it provides an aid for aligning goal setting and action planning.

Has anyone helped a group develop a vision that was compelling to others to the degree that it helped change organizational behavior? I always use the JFK put a man on the moon by the end of the decade" and am looking for some less grandiose yet relevant examples with which my clients can relate.

I'm new to this newsgroup and am very excited about the possibilities.

Gregg Gullickson -- Clifton, Virginia -- OD (first love), BPR, change management, TQM, team building, learning organization, straight-stick facilitating (my favorite), and whatever else the marketplace demands

Date:    Wed, 29 May 1996 16:02:16 -0400
From:    KimatCDS 
Subject: Re: values/vision

Another idea to stir the pot:

Many of the suggestions here refer to how to structure the task of defining values, purpose, mission, etc. While well intentioned, I fear we facilitators may be missing an important aspect by focusing on techniques.

Mission, purpose, values are all CULTURAL. That is, they are determined by how people choose to live and work together. The choices are collective, and often unconscious. Cultural values and missions can't be ordered or changed by edict. (no matter how well facilitated)

Facilitators are kind of shamans, priests, or wizards. Our presence indicates the importance of a organizational RITUAL or RITE.

In some cases, we collude with our clients to provide the trappings of a "rational" process, as if the culture could be changed simply by willing it so. Often, all we're doing is reinforcing managers' belief that they are in control and have status and power in their organization.

When we see our facilitator roles from a CULTURAL perspective, we can go beyond the usual huffing and puffing over what words our clients use to describe their purpose, etc., to really beginning to change the way people act.

For example, in one organization I worked with to define their values, all of the officially sanctioned stories that communicated values came from the corporate communications officer. This person responded directly to senior management and said they wanted to see "positive" stories about the organization. Not surprisingly, many employees I interviewed began by toting this line, only expressing positive aspects they experienced while working.

Another facilitator I worked with helped me see that the usual process of setting "openness" as a ground rule for our meetings would be relatively meaningless, since this value was strongly determined by management's (often unconscious) actions. Instead, we opened a planning event by asking people to bring personal artifacts that represented their work. Pictures, trophies, old newspaper clippings, even furniture was presented. Very rich and descriptive stories followed, some positive, some not. I think this gave everyone a more accurate picture of what the true values were in the organization. Then everyone could see what values were common, and how people acted accordingly.

Suggestion: Forget about techniques (like this artifact activity) for awhile. Learn the CULTURE of the organization you're working in. What rituals exist -- how do they communicate values? What artifacts are given attention -- who owns them? What stories carry potency? How are they told? Who's been there a long time? What events occur where values, mission and purpose get exposed? Who comes to these events? What roles do they play? Etc.

Then, as kind of shamans, we can play a more powerful role by how we design our meetings and play out our role within their cultural Anyone else have similar stories?

Kim Slack

Date:    Sun, 2 Jun 1996 22:46:00 +0000
From:    Mary Margaret 
Subject: Re: values/vision

>Mary Margaret Palmer writes: Focusing on just what I was going to produce and sell really limited >my vision. Just my 2 cents. MM (end quote)

>Daniel L. Barkley wrote: I'd certainly be interested in learning about the specifc distinctions you made as you followed this thread and more info around the shifts that you have made in your thinking.

This is tough question to respond to, because some of what I meant is difficult to put into words. Personally I experienced one of those paradigm shifts in thinking, like the picture of the young/old woman in Covey's book. One minute I was seeing one picture and the next another and then the whole picture.

I have spent the last year and a half developing a line of materials for facilitators/trainers/presenters. My whole focus was on the development of the product--and it has turned out to be a great product, but a product is only one part of a business. If you look at the various departments/divisions of a corporation you begin to see what I suddenly found myself facing.

Initially as I began to develop a strategic plan as part of the business plan, my mission/vision/goals were product focused and referred to characteristics of the actual product--its paperless, reusable, portable, etc. When I made the shift, my mission changed from just making paperless boarding materials to making environmentally sound products that stimulate participation, inspire creative thinking, and enhance the effectiveness of group processes in any setting. Thus I am no longer limiting the potential of my company to its initial product offerings. My vision of the future expanded and the walls fell away. Because of this shift I ended up renaming the product parts and re-evaluating how it would be marketed.

Right now I am the corporation. Its values are my values. I have a manufacturer I work with, but he has his own company. In a very real sense, I alone have to hold the WHOLE picture of a whole corporation from marketing, to sales, to accounting, to management, to production, to customers, vendors, future employees, even its place in the community. And that means when I create a vision for my corporation--it has to hold all of it. And with the creation of that vision and my mission, I am now ready to move on and create the business. What was a chore--creating a business plan--became an opportunity to create my ideal --a business that reflects my philosophy and my beliefs.

As to specifc distinctions I made as I followed this thread, I'm not sure what you mean. No one particular thing or things stands out-- what was posted served more as food for thought--like facilitators for my strategic planning. I even tried Sandor's City of Troy vision which proved to be a useful exercise.

I know I have rambled on a bit, probably haven't even answered your question. But even the writing of this response has helped as I move from a place of theory into a place of greater knowing. Oh the things my MBA classes never told me!

Mary Margaret Palmer
Facilitation Technologies
Austin, TX

Date:    Tue, 4 Jun 1996 11:21:45 -0500
From:    Dutch Driver 
Subject: Vision exercise

I recently came across this idea, sort of, well okay it is my idea. I found it in the closet of my mind. ;] When working with vision, try this script.

"I want you all to think about Mickey Mouse. Picture him in your mind's eye. Don't close your eyes to do this. They must be wide open. Think about Mickey's ears, eyes and head. Do you see him? Is he clearly in your thoughts? (Upon majority head nodding) Good. I want you to take a pencil and draw Mickey on the sheet of paper in front of you. You have 3 minutes."


Collect the pictures. Hold up a few for example.

"You all clearly had Mickey in your mind's eye, your vision? Some of these sort of look Goofy. (pun intended) That is the difficulty of translating vision.

"Many of you could not get your hand to do what you mind had given it as a task. Would this exercise have been easier if I had indicated that you also need to include his nose, his clothes, gloves, and shoes as more detailed?

"If you cannot share a vision with your own hand, how difficult do you expect it to be when sharing it with the people in your organization?

"What skill should you expect to exercise when sharing a vision with others?"

end script

Dutch Driver
Dept. of Speech Communication
Texas A&M University