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Vision - 31 March 2009

Some of the most intense visions that people experience are dreams and nightmares. Dreams can teach us how to create and promote visions at work that succeed, while nightmares give us clues on what to avoid so that visions at work don’t fail.

Let’s look at dreams first. Sigmund Freud identified the three components that create “dream language”. These are also the keys to developing a compelling vision that employees embrace.

 

The first dream component is "Condensation", which is when different ideas are combined to form one image. At work, this is related to a shared vision. Even though the leader creates the vision, your employees will switch off if this vision represents a goal only from your side. A shared vision incorporates your employees’ collective aspirations. It outlines how their hopes will be fulfilled as well as your own.

The second part of a dream is "Displacement", which is when there's a shift in feeling from one idea or person to another. Your vision needs to trigger a positive emotion in your employees. It needs to get them as excited about the future as you are. Microsoft’s “a computer on every desk” does this in a simple and powerful way. Unimaginative vision statements about ‘exceeding customer expectations’ do not.

 

The third dream element is "Symbolism", which is the use of images to represent what can't be easily communicated. This links to how you promote your vision. If the vision is just printed tackily using ClipArt fonts and stuck on a wall, it’s not going to work. It needs to be launched with pizzazz, brought up regularly in conversation, included on internal stationery, and incorporated in rewards plans.

 

Conversely, one bad nightmare can overturn a night’s full of sweet dreams. According to medical journals, there are several causes of nightmares. If the equivalent of any of these is prevalent in your workplace, your vision will have little chance of succeeding. These include:

 

Worry: Apprehensive and fearful employees will be too cautious to embrace your vision.

Stress: Tense and over-emotional employees will be too consumed to embrace your vision.

Insecurity: Doubtful and mistrustful employees will be too concerned to embrace your vision.

Depression: Sad and unhopeful employees will be too careless to embrace your vision.

 

Credible studies of dreams have revealed that about 75 percent of them are negative in nature. Whether you’re setting a vision for a small team or a big organisation, you can avoid a similar statistic by understanding that just like dreams and nightmares, visions are emotional experiences that will evoke either a peaceful smile or a frightful scream.

 

To download complimentary e-books on employee engagement, retention, and recruitment (valued at over $100), please click here.

 

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