Picture of Succes
Connect your team with a clear picture of the desired state
Members of an expedition spend a great deal of time imagining the journey they will undertake together. Before they set out, they talk at length about their destination, about how it will feel to get there together.
They talk about the stops in between. About what they will do in case of bad weather, accidents, illness. They create and visualize a clear and shared picture of the experience to come.
So, they go much further than just “On June 1, we will be up at Mount Everest”.
By discussing and visualizing a desired situation, you train your brain to perform optimally at the right moment. And the stronger this shared picture is, the easier it is for each expedition member to independently contribute to that success.
The power of story
Take a critical look at the annual plans you have made or worked on: To what extent do you find a story in them that people like to commit to? Most annual plans are nothing more than a bulleted list and sometimes an elaboration of goals and ambitions.
Goals and ambitions are not unimportant. But they are just not enough to benefit from the power of story.
What exactly is this power?
1. A story gets your whole brain going
Once you wrap goals in a rich story with descriptions and metaphors and it will all play out in our brains.
This way, team members have more fun reading or listening, the message gets more attention. Your plan will gain stickiness.
2. A story tunes in your brain to others
When you tell a story and the other person is listening, a so-called neural connection takes place. For the teller and the listener, the exact same parts of the brain are stimulated at the exact same time.
The result is perfectly synchronized brain activity. Do you know a better way to share ideas and plans and get everyone on the same wavelength?
That is exactly what happens when you create a story together with your team members.
3. A story strews oxytocin
Do you know how to write the annual plan in a very visual way, with a great destination and how it feels like to be there? The team members will recognize the emotions and social interactions. And this is causing the release of oxytocin in our brains.
Oxytocin? You might know it as the cuddle or love hormone. American professor and neuro-economist Paul Zak discovered that this neurotransmitter plays a role in our empathic ability. Moreover, it sends out a signal of trust in our brain.
In short: Encourage teams to act? Create a story together!
A story to go with a plan
The following questions can help you imagine the situation you want:
1. what will improve for customers if we carry out our plan? What will they experience if we make it happen? What will they say about us?
2. What will be improved for us (team members) if we make it happen? What do we experience when we realise it? And how does it feel when we do it together? What do I experience then?
3. What improves for the rest of the organisation when we succeed? What have we contributed? And what do colleagues say about us? How does it feel to receive this later?
Record what comes to mind for team members. Collect images together.
The end result is much more important than a list of goals.
Create your cover story
On DesignABetterBusiness.tools you will find the Cover Story Vision Canvas. It is a fun and relaxing way to visualize a common endeavour. The starting point: imagine that your initiative is so successful that you will be interviewed. Which magazine will take the interview and what will be on the cover about your result?
Here you can read the explanation of the creator:
“The canvas challenges you and your team to project yourselves in the future: how will the world respond to what you have accomplished at that time.
To get started, huddle as a team (or, even better, multiple teams) and have a thoughtful discussion about what magazine you’d like to be featured in once you’ve achieved your vision.
It’s important to have this conversation, as the tone, voice, and readership of the particular magazine make a big difference.
Once you have decided on your magazine, move on to the headline. What are the biggest, most inspirational headlines you can think of? How are you changing the world (or at least your organization) with your idea? This article will talk about your major achievement but will also recount the story of where you started and how you got to your a-ha moment. What is the bottom line, the facts and figures that support the headline? Capture those as well.
As in any magazine article, there is going to be some kind of interview component. What questions will be asked? How will you answer? How will your sceptics show up? What are people saying on social media?
Now comes the fun part! Draw your story. Magazines are very visual. Make your magazine cover story visual as well. Who or what is on the cover? How will this grab the reader (i.e., your team)?
Connect your team with your great story!
People do not just commit to a goal or an annual plan. They do engage to a story with a clear benefit. Where “something can be accomplished.” Where there is something in it for us. Especially if we wrote it ourselves.
That is important to know. After all, who on your team dares to shout, “Take care of it yourself” when it comes to annual goals …?
You can find the canvas and detailed work instructions after registration on the following page: DesignABetterBusiness.Tools