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Visualisation Exercise

An Exercise In Reflective Visioning

To help participants determine their goals, we utilize a visualisation exercise.  The visualisation exercise should guide the participants through a scenario ten or more years into the future.

Ask participants to get their journals out and then lie on the floor, head on cushions and close their eyes.  The scenario should paint a picture in which the organisation is achieving tremendous success.


The key is to help the participants visualise the various areas of success (e.g., customers, products, image, etc.) without specifically citing what the success was.  Note how pauses are used

Once everyone is comfortable asked the participants to become aware of their breathing.

Now that we have looked at where we are currently, let’s turn our minds to where we are going.  This step will serve as the launching point for establishing our goals and objectives. I would like for us to do a brief visualisation exercise.  Imagine yourself looking at a desk calendar with the current date being shown.  Watch the pages flip from today, to tomorrow, to the next day, then to the next month, and the next, and then to the next year, and the next, until we arrive at [date]

Imagine that you look up from your desk and you find yourself in an auditorium in which someone is speaking and announcing an award.  You realize that the person speaking is (brief silence) and the award is the (brief silence) which goes to the organisation which has (brief silence).  The presenter says, ‘At no time in the history of the award until now has the judges been in unanimous agreement of the organisation most deserving of this award.  And this year the award goes to [organisation].’ There is a standing ovation, as people get out of their chairs to applaud.  When the applause dies down, the presenter goes on to list all the accomplishments that made this organisation deserving.  Listen to what the presenter is saying (brief silence) Fill it in…what was it that the organisation accomplished? (brief silence)

A video starts.  There is a group of the organisation’s customers in a focus group, and one customer says, ‘The thing that is great about this organisation is…’ (brief silence) Fill it in…what did that customer say? Another jumps in, ‘That’s all fine and wonderful, but the thing that really makes this organisation stand out is…’ (brief silence).

The President gets up to accept the award and explains that ten years before a group came together to develop a plan that has resulted in this award.  The President explains a number of things that were done.  Listen to what the President says…What was it that the organisation did?  (brief silence)

As you are leaving you overhear a group of employees talking.  They are saying that they didn’t believe the organisation would actually change, but that it did.  They begin talking about what it feels like to work there, how these changes have improved their lives.  Listen to what they are saying.  How does it feel to work there? (brief silence)

As you go back to your desk, you sit down and want to record some of the things you heard.  What was it that the presenter said?  Why did the Organisation deserve the award?  What was it that the President said was done to bring about these changes?  What did the employees say about working there?   Whenever you are ready, take a minute to jot down a note or two about what you heard.

Visualising Debrief

After the visualization exercise, have each individual participant write out what they saw.

  • Customers – Have the participants visualise and hear what customers are saying about the organization.
  • Employees  – Have the participants visualise and hear what employees are saying about the organization.
  • Competitors/Other Stakeholders – Have the participants visualise and hear what competitors or other stakeholders are saying about the organization.
  • Actions – Have the participants visualise what actions were taken to achieve success.
  • Results – Have the participants visualise the results that were achieved.

Vision Elements

Then ask the team to create on post-its a consolidated set of vision elements that appeared in team members’ visions.

Have the teams review their vision element list with the entire team, and then group these into logical categories.

The categories then represent the broad areas in which success is necessary.  These areas essentially equate to the definition of goals: broad aims that define success!

Organisations are often surprised when they discover that this technique results in them identifying their key areas of success. But of course, the exercise is designed to have them visualise whatever success means to them.


  1. Product Innovation – Provide innovative products and services focused on meeting customer needs
  2. Culture – Promote a positive culture and a satisfying work environment
  3. Customer Intimacy – Maintain strong customer relationships
  4. Market Leadership – Be the market leader in soft skills training