Vision Casting is a visualization method that uses a prepared scenario in order to pull out information regarding people’s thoughts on where they see an organization in five or more years. This is a great method for long-term goal-setting, as it allows people to focus on what success looks like and what it takes to get there. It touches upon, not only the external impact, but the effects on the internal team as well.
During this method, it is important that each participant is able to clear their minds, so opt for a space that will have minimal external sights, sounds, and smells. In order to create the best experience, we recommend setting up your room with tables/chairs in a square or rounded arch with you being able to read from the center. Also, be sure to clear the tabletops in order to minimize distractions.
Instruct everyone to close their eyes. For one minute, slowly alternate the following prompts, allowing moments of silence between each: Take two deep breaths. Clear your mind.
The following is a sample scenario we have used, though it is important to customize your scenario to the needs of the organization.
Imagine that you are in an auditorium for the [insert name of major award event applicable to the organization] and the [presenter of import] is announcing this year’s biggest award. The award is going to the organization which has made the greatest impact in [insert organization’s focus/mission]. The [presenter] boasts, ‘For the first time in the history of this prestigious award, the judges are in unanimous agreement of the organization most deserving of this honor. This year’s award goes to [insert organization name].
There is a loud standing ovation, as people rise out of their chairs to applaud. When the applause dies down, the [presenter] lists all of the accomplishments that made [insert organization name] so deserving. Listen to what the [presenter] is saying. (allow brief silence)
Fill it in…What was it that [insert organization name] accomplished? (allow brief silence)
The lights in the room dim and a video starts playing. Showing on the screen is a group of the [specific audience members/stakeholder] in a focus group, and one says, ‘The greatest thing about [insert organization name] is…’ (brief silence)
Fill it in…What did that person say?
Another person smiles, and then adds, ‘Yes, but what really makes [insert organization name] stand out is…’ (brief silence)
[insert CEO name] then gets up to accept the award and explains that [five +] years before their team and stakeholders came together to develop a plan that resulted in the [descriptor of work] work that lead to this award. (S)He explains a number of things that were done. Listen to what (s)he’s saying…What was it that [insert organization name] did? (brief silence)
After the ceremony, you pass by an employee of [insert organization name] being congratulated by another attendee on all of the work they’ve done. Listen to their response…What does that employee say about their experiences at that organization? (brief silence)
Now instruct everyone to open their eyes, and give them a moment to adjust. From here, ask everyone to silently record what they heard, one thought per sticky note, as you repeat each prompt. What was it that the [presenter] said? Why did [organization name] deserve the award? What was it that [CEO] said was done to bring about these changes? How did the employee describe their time at the organization?
Repeat your first prompt and ask people to go around and share their responses. Allow time for natural discussion as you go. Repeat until you have gone through each prompt.
Place stickies on banner paper under their coordinating prompt. Work with the client to identify themes, mark thoughts that need further exploration/discussion, and highlight those that rose to the top.