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A different approach: If I cannot see your vision, I cannot follow it!

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Most of us have probably attended countless presentations on visions, strategies and action plans, with boredom descending over the crowd as soon as the 1st PowerPoint slide hit the screen. Opportunity is rarely given for participation and co-creation, and instead, silent “acceptance” and passive resignation takes over.


Does this sound like a good starting point for development and ownership?

35,000 year-old wine …

OK, I’ll admit it… I’m talking about old wine in new bottles. As in really old wine. In fact, the “wine” is at least 35,000 years old – or older!

I’m referring to the language we use when plotting the course to a target, explaining contexts and building shelving, houses, and cities.

It’s a language that far more than any other existing language overcomes borders – physical, intellectual, linguistic and mental. It is a language that practically lies in the human genes and which the clear majority of us have used since childhood – but just forgotten.

And it is a language that everyone can learn again: it generates new reflections, new dialogues, better decisions and greater ownership and responsibility for the vision, strategy, and actions.

What I’m referring to is drawing: humans have always been drawing – and it still works! Just think of maps, signs, project plans and even the assembly instructions for an IKEA cabinet (imagine that written in Word!)


… In new bottles

We live in a world that seems more and more complex, where the individual senses a growing need to feel valuable, to understand his/her own role as part of a bigger picture, and where the job itself (at least in the western world) no longer is a prerequisite for survival.

For many of us, a job is an arena where personal dreams, visions, and ambitions are acted out. Therefore, the individual’s desire to feel valuable and involved as well as being a co-creator of vision, missions, objectives, and tasks is growing.

To complicate matters further, organizations are continuously facing requirements of re-thinking and challenging of the existing processes and structures. This requires a change in what is talked about, the way it is talked about the language used.


Invite to involvement – use drawings

Drawings can help, because they challenge our individual understanding of what we think we agreed on, they “tickle” our brains and create space for new thoughts, new concepts, new ideas and form the basis for a coordinated view of the shared objectives and actions.

Drawings created together with the participants invite to involvement, personal commitment, and co-creation of the shared new concept(s). And, as ownership is far greater in something we have helped to create, versus something that has merely been presented to us, the motivation to achieve the vision, missions, and the goals increases for both the individual and the group.
And that’s probably a pretty good starting point to succeed!

About the author: Jesper Oehlenschläger is an experienced trainer and facilitator in leadership, strategy and Graphic facilitation. He holds a diploma in leadership and management and are partner in the Consulting House 2beGREAT (, partner in The Kickass Company ( and is the owner of GRAVISI (, which trains professionals in the area of graphic facilitation.
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