Bill Clinton put it in a framework. Jack Welch said it was embodied as “cool” by the late Steve Jobs. The CEOs of Burberry (Angela Ahrendts) and of Cirque du Soleil (Daniel Lamarre) described how they pay teams to do it. These leaders called it DREAMING, but based on the descriptions I heard at the World Business Forum last week, I don’t think they meant the random thoughts and pictures that float through our minds at night or daydreaming during a particularly boring presentation.
The longer definition I would use is creating a vision, rather than having a vision or being visionary, as both of these cases imply some kind of passive or innate ability. All the dreams (or visions) mentioned described scenes, products or results which could be depicted in a photo or picture without the need for words. Think of the reactions of happy customers, satisfied employees, and excitement generated by new discoveries or products that generate good feelings. Increased percentages of market share, dollars or numbers of customers are important, but were defined as natural outcomes from seeing dreams realized. The vision must come first.
In presenting their messages, the most effective speakers (whether using slides or not) tended to create pictures with their words, using great storytelling and powerful metaphors to deliver their messages.
Malcolm Gladwell connected dreaming to risk taking. Takashi Hatchijo, Chairman of the Board of Hitachi, said, “We need to rededicate ourselves to inspire the world.”
Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and co-author of The Art of Possibility used not only music but visual clues as well, such as drawing outside of perceived boundaries on a flipchart, and asking us to “look for the shining eyes!” to inspire us to think about possibilities.
It was an event rich with vision, providing great material to create the graphic recordings you can see in full here.
Bill Clinton summarized his message by saying, “we need to get into the future business.” To do that, facilitating visions of things to come starts with dreaming.
Photo of Bill Clinton by Dov Friedmann — PhotographyByDov.com