Tips and Techniques: May 2016

Tips and Techniques: May 2016

“Create your own visual style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.”—Orson Welles

Using Play to Create Vision

Create a visual representation of your vision—a vision board.  
This activity gets participants “out of their heads” and engages them in playing with images as they are creating their vision—focusing less on writing the perfect vision and more on crafting what the vision looks like, and then attaching the words to articulate the vision.

  • Current or emerging leaders
  • Any size
Time Required
  • Creating the Vision Boards: 25 minutes
  • Sharing of the Vision Boards: 5 minutes per person (time varies based on the size of the group—see Step 3 below) 
  • Debrief: 5-10 minutes
Materials and Equipment
  • Poster board or flipchart paper—one piece for each participant 
  • Magazines—plan on 2-3 per person. The more varied the magazines, the better, and those with lots of pictures are preferable to business magazines.  NOTE: Magazines will be cut up for this activity. 
  • Scissors—one pair per person
  • Glue sticks—one per person
  • Markers—various colors   
Area Set-up
A large table or section of the room displaying the various magazines. Each participant should have a pair of scissors, a glue stick, a piece of poster board/paper, and enough room to work comfortably—either at tables or on the floor.

Facilitator Notes re: Context 
  • Participants will have reflected on their vision for their team, using the questions on pgs. 88-89 of The Leadership Challenge Participant Workbook
  • Using the Paris/Tuva exercise as a foundation, you will have discussed with participants how to breathe life into a vision using senses, images, emotions and stories. Note: you’ll find the Paris/Tuva exercise in the Inspire a Shared Vision section of The Leadership Challenge Facilitator’s Guide.
  • Now participants have an opportunity to experiment with using techniques to craft a powerful vision message. 

Step 1
  • Instruct participants to think about and decide what area of their life they’d like to apply this activity to: professional, self, family, or other. 
  • For the next 15 minutes, ask them to look through the magazines and select images or words that represent their vision. Let participants know that they should approach this activity with a mindset of “playful discovery” and not worry about knowing exactly what they will do with the images at this point.  
Note: Ask participants to select a couple of magazines at a time and return them to the magazine table when done so that others can have the opportunity to use them, too.

Step 2 
With their cut-out pictures and words from the magazines, have participants place them onto their poster boards or flipchart paper, arranging and attaching the images and words in a way that begins to create the visual story of their vision—and will help them articulate that vision to others.

Step 3
Ask participants to find a partner with whom they will share their vision. Each person will have 5 minutes to: 
  • Set the scene/provide context of what their vision pertains to—is this intended for the team they lead, their  family, etc.—30 seconds
  • Deliver their vision message as if they are speaking to the intended audience—2.5 minutes. This allows individuals to be more passionate in their delivery.  
  • Receive partner feedback—2 minutes. Questions to consider: 
    • What resonated with you about this vision? 
    • What words or images were particularly powerful? 
    • How might you make this message even better?
Note: Step 3 can be completed in pairs, as detailed above, or in larger groupings depending on the amount of time available and how the facilitator wants to target this activity.

Step 4
Debrief the activity, asking participants: 
  • What did you get out of the activity?
  • What did you learn about your vision?
  • How did it feel to create the vision board?
  • How did it feel to share your vision with others?
Missy Makanui is Director of Leadership Development for SAS, a large privately-held software company, and a Certified Master-in-Training of The Leadership Challenge®. She has been teaching and consulting at the university and corporate levels for 25 years and using The Leadership Challenge and the LPI® in her work since 2003. Missy is a coach, facilitator, and business consultant—using her expertise to assist her clients in defining objectives, identifying obstacles, and creating paths to achieving business results. She can be reached at

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