3.12 The Law Of Attraction: Envision a Compelling Future
EGL Newsletter Volume 3.12
The cornerstone of organizational change is the ability and willingness of a leader to create a picture of the future that is more compelling than the strong reality of today. While some leaders have the ability to literally imagine and see that future, others have to rely on the ability of others around them to have the ideas of what is truly possible in the world. Regardless of how the ideas are formed, a leader who aspires to create a transformational change must have the ability to craft some sort of compelling picture of the future.
This art form involves the ability to use metaphor and story, as well as understanding the hearts and minds of the audience. Using this combination, the leader taps into their hopes and dreams to make the future real. The artist inside the leader creates a mural of the future, with some areas crisply defined and others sketched only as a line drawing. The most effective use their time and energy is to engage the people of their organization. The leader supports the creative act of allowing each person to “paint their own corner of that mural”. That way, each person can see how they fit into the larger picture and have a strong sense of personal ownership. By doing this, in groups and individually, the leader can create a powerful draw to the future.
Transformational leaders practice this competency. By that, I mean both that they rehearse it and refine it over time, but that they also use this competency on a regular basis. Remember, the vision of the future is an image and to some degree and abstraction, while the current state is in the present and can easily overpower a weak vision. The best leaders spend a majority of their time using this powerful competency during times of transformation and uncertainty.
The conscious leader can feel this vision in his or her bones. It is absolutely critical that this picture is one that is compelling in the sense that one is drawn towards it, NOT going there to get away from something else. Many change strategies talk about creating a “burning platform” or “causing some pain in the system” to coerce people towards a new future. That is building on fear and doubt, and will always create a less than desirable future state. Use this by imagining the best and brightest possible picture of the world. Know how you will feel about it when it is there. Talk to people from that place. When working with others, spend enough time with them to feel it as well. Then, imagine it every day. Create structures that keep this picture in front of you and everyone else who is on the journey with you.