Creating a Strategic Team Vision

                    Three stone masons of the middle ages were hard at work when a visitor came along and asked them what they were doing. The first stone mason was toiling away, sweat beading his brow. “I am cutting this stone”, he grumbled. The second stone mason, though less distraught, responded with a deep sigh, “I’m building a parapet.” The third stone mason replied with a radiant face, “I am building a beautiful cathedral that will glorify God for centuries to come”.– Author unknown

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While the first two masons saw only what was immediately before them the third mason had been visualizing his cathedral, dreaming of how it would appear at its completion. Imagine him rising each day anxious to play his full part in that effort. Isn’t that the enthusiasm you would prefer to feel each day, and better yet, have your associates bring with them to work as well? When you undertake your visioning task, strive to be that third mason and to bring your co-creators along with you.

Strategic Visioning:

           Mental process in which images of the desired future (goals, objectives, outcomes) are made intensely real and compelling to act as motivators for the present action.

Unlike strategic planning, visioning is more about lofty aspirations and less about the nuts and bolts of implementation. Oh, there will be plenty of time for the nuts and bolts later, but why spoil the fun. Whether you are setting up a new banana stand, directing an established business, corporate division, a trade association or a township, it will grow over the coming years and morph from what it is today into something quite different. Strategic visioning gives you and your associates that uncommon chance to visualize that future as you wish to see it without limitations and make it happen.

In the early 1990’s the Campbell Soup Company of Canada committed a few days to a strategic visioning session.  They brought together all the department heads, movers and shakers, etc. and went through numerous exercises. They broke into smaller groups and wrote imaginary future newspaper headlines extoling their desired accomplishments. They talked about “Gate to Plate” streamlining of their products to the consumers, what milestones they would reach along the way and generally about how dynamic they could be. When all the dust had settled they agreed that they wanted to be the “Best Food Company in North America” or B-F-C-N-A.  Thereafter they tested all new ideas and proposals against their vision to be the BFCNA.  “Would these suggestions contribute to us being BFCNA”?  It became part of their daily lexicon. It was used in communications with all the employees and other stakeholders until everyone knew exactly what they were striving to be. They would be the BFCNA.

It’s said that if you are lucky enough to have a job (or business) that you love you will never have to work a day in your life. Here is your chance to plot that course in a form that allows others to share in it. Take the opportunity now to develop and express what you want that to be and nurture it with your associates as co-creators of your success.

Please contact me to help facilitate your vision.

Robert Skidmore (562) 413-1061

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Confessions of a Neophyte Blogger:

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I am learning that promoting ones consulting business is not a laid-back and stress free undertaking.  Apparently writing a blog to place before your audience is a broadly accepted means of such marketing, but what if you have little or no experience in self-bloviating?  Most of my experience consists of posting a few friendly cat and dog videos on Facebook.  So I decided to bone up a little.  I read and carefully dissected numerous other blogs and have determined that a few rules seem to hold sway and give the reader a reasonable incentive to follow along.  They seem to be as follows:

1)      You are expected to offer at least a few pithy words of advice, and certainly more than “Never turn on your blender while holding your cat”.  While that is sound advice, it won’t increase profits or curb your high employee turnover.  Given the never-ending availability of new marketing and management tools and tactics it should be easy to identify a topic of interest.  However, differentiating yourself from the nearly 500,000 other professionals (per the Institute of Management Consultants) is the real challenge.  I have to ask myself, how does one make the subject of reshoring American manufacturing sexy or even interesting?  Is there any real interest in four new ways to apply a SWOT analysis to your business?  And these were a couple of my best subjects?  My head began to spin.

2)      Announce at the top of each article the number of bullet points or rules that you espouse to be really important (Please note here that I have failed to do so, hence the neophyte status) like six ways to turbo charge your SEO, or three imperatives for effective leadership, and so on.  This rule is used to manage your audience’s expectations so that they know you don’t plan to drone on and on about thirty-five ways to manage Millennials or as I like to call it “How to Train Your Dragons”.

3)      Work-in oblique references to your many years of experience and super hero skill sets. This can be a little tricky.  If you don’t claim enough years your wisdom is in question. If you count your work history in decades you are probably a soon-to-be-extinct dinosaur. You may want to use dog years as an alternative in this case.  Mine would be about five dog years from my first spin in the CEO’s chair through my last dozen years as executive coach and business consultant. I like to think that I am a pretty wise old pterodactyl.

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