Magazine article Training & Development Journal

Can You Picture That?

Magazine article Training & Development Journal

Can You Picture That?

Article excerpt

Can You Picture That?

Creative imaging is a powerful tool for bringing about organizational change. It can best be described as visualizing a plan for change and improvement, and then making it happen.

In one sense, imaging is a way of communicating with oneself in order to influence one's life.

For centuries, people have been quietly using imaging in some form for healing, sports excellence, and interpersonal relations. But the specific ability to envision and then materialize an idea or goal has been traditionally treated as a gift belonging to a few extraordinary leaders and visionaries.

Imaging may come naturally to some people, but this extraordinary ability can be learned. It takes simple, but specific, techniques.

Creative imaging for change follows this recipe: * Identify a specific need for change. * Envision a better way. * Formulate a vision-based plan of action.

Identify a need for change

Imagine that your work organization is transformed by a shared vision. Daily routines rise from drudgery and take on new meaning.

Consider the story of three brick masons who were each asked what they were building. The first answered, "I'm laying bricks." The second replied, "I'm building a wall." The third said, "I'm building a cathedral!" That is what creative imaging can do.

What do you answer when someone at work asks what you are doing? If you're a teacher, you might say, "I'm grading papers." Or you might answer, "I'm teaching organizational communication." You could say, "I'm shaping peoples' consciousness!"

How can we learn to take the larger view? What can we do to activate our own imaging power? The first step is to identify a specific need for change.

Envision a better way

The second step, envisioning a better way, has been demonstrated by most charismatic leaders. Almost anyone can learn to use certain simple techniques for creative visualization. A simple exercise can help you prepare to apply such techniques to the workplace. The exercise begins by warming up your powers of visualizing.

Think back to your own childhood, to a moment when you created something. * What was it that you created? * What did it look like? * What was it made of? * How did it feel in your hands? * Was anyone else present? * What did you do with it?

Now that your image-making mind is beginning to warm up, start thinking about an organization. Think of one of the organizations you have been part of lately, and imagine that you are approaching it some time in the future. You imagine that over time many things have changed for the better.

Picture yourself approaching the entrance to the building. You are comfortable and relaxed. Enter and see the people who are there. Notice that everything feels different, better than it used to. You are no longer attached to the organization in your previous role, and you are in a position to see and understand how things have changed for the better. Move around in your imagination to different areas and see how they too have changed for the better.

Recall what part you played in bringing these changes about. Enjoy your sense of accomplishment. Now imagine yourself leaving this organization again, perhaps for the day, perhaps forever. Say goodbye in whatever way seems appropriate and imagine yourself walking freely out the door, pleased with what you have seen. Once the vision exists, appropriate actions can follow.

As Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca once proclaimed to employees, "We can do it! Consider it done!"

Formulate a vision-based plan of action

The third step consists of formulating vision-based plan of action. You may want to consider what implications your vision holds for your organization and for your behavior within the organization. Consider which parts of the vision are attainable. How might your vision come to be? …

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