Making a vision meaningful

Many of us have a vision or an idea about how an organisation might improve. Perhaps we’ve read something which connects with us and triggers an idea, or perhaps we’ve learned from experiences elsewhere and we want to bring that to our current organisation. And sometimes some of us are fortunate enough to be able to share that vision with the people who can most readily make it happen—perhaps we’ve even been asked explicitly to make some recommendations or suggest some ideas.

But one thing I am often reminded of—particularly when I see others do it and can observe the response objectively—is how important it is to describe that idea using examples that are pulled from our listeners’ working lives. It’s usually not enough to say, “It’s a good thing to have a process which is more like this.” It only becomes meaningful when we use the names of real people, and their real work, with specific systems, and relate it to real challenges that they’ve actually experienced.

We don’t all appreciate ideas with the same level of abstractness. Most of the people we speak to have limited time, and have far more urgent concerns than the ones we might like to be talking about. Going the extra distance to make abstract ideas really tangible for people might be a lot of additional work. But it usually makes the difference in making them effective.

Photo by Steven Lilley