Beginning with Vision


Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others ~ Jonathon Swift~

Yesterday I had a great coaching session with a client…

As with any coaching session,  she set our agenda and what she wanted to accomplish by the end of our session.  Her intent was to come up with an objective for her 2014 performance plan.

As we began the conversation,  I asked some questions to see if we could gain more clarity and definition of what “an objective” was … what was she seeking to do in 2014?  As we spoke,  she was thinking out loud and a few times she would pose the question to me “what do you think?”.  I was sensing that she was feeling a little stuck and having a hard time seeing what it was she wanted to accomplish… so my instincts kicked in and I asked her to close her eyes and envision that she had a big rock sitting in front of her and to pretend that she was going to make that plain old rock into a face… just like Mount Rushmore…or the Crazy Horse monument in South Dakota.

I asked her to choose one of the faces on Mount Rushmore to focus on and she chose President Lincoln.  We began with her “staring” (figuratively of course) at her rock that was in her mind’s eye and think about what steps she would take to chisel out Lincoln’s face in her rock.  She said she had to begin by drawing out the face on paper… then she would outline the shape on her rock before she started to chisel.  She would then start adding in the features of the eyes, nose and mouth.  Finally,  she would start overlaying more specific features such as the eyebrows and the beard.

My client’s goal was based on a vision she had to create a new structure in how her team could deliver better outcomes to their clients… to improve client retention and to expand service offerings wherever possible.  Her vision was to have a structure that created high levels of satisfaction for both her external customers and her internal customers (her employees).

Why did we start carving out LIncoln in a rock you might ask… what on earth does Mount Rushmore have to do with creating a structure in a business setting?

The answer is easy… it is all about having a vision…

Once we have a vision, we can work backwards and decide what the steps are that we want to take to make our vision into a reality.  In my client’s case,  she had a vision but she needed a little help in getting clearer on what she really wanted to do and how she might go about doing it.  We were able to talk through some options for where she felt “stuck”… and then an “AHA!” moment occurred.  She had a breakthrough in her thinking when she realized that she didn’t have to carve the stone by herself.  She talked about how she could work with her team to come up with a plan  to chip away at the bigger stone and fill in the necessary details to create the ultimate “face” of her customer service vision.

If you are in the midst of thinking through “what next?“,  I suggest the following steps:

  1. Vision: start with the end in mind.  Picture what you want the final outcome to look like.
  2. Create an outline… be broad… remember you just want to draw out the overall shape first.
  3. Work out details by bringing in others to help you figure out what tools, resources, support and direction everyone will need.
  4. Start the actual work of chiseling away (actions) once you are confident that you have a rock solid plan.

Do you have a vision of what you want to accomplish in 2014?  I would love to hear what everyone is working on!

Leave a Reply