It’s hard enough to get a family of four to agree where to go out to eat much less getting a group of executives/ managers agree to where they want to take their organization.  To facilitate vision for an organization—where it wants to go, appeal to both the head and the heart, supporting the question, “Why change?”  A clear statement of the future state helps to gain genuine commitment.  Illustrate using your metaphor, as a metaphor is worth a thousand pictures.

Defined:  A vision is a desired position specified in sufficient detail so that an organization recognizes it when they reach it.  A consensual vision provides direction and motivation for change.



How to Facilitate Vision

Facilitate vision to drive the objectives and define where the organization is going.  This enables you to define key measures and more detailed objectives, as they are laid out en route to obtaining the vision.


When you facilitate vision, you create a clearly defined statement between 25 and 75 words in length.


Use one of three methods:

  1. Define a vision statement by having your group use the Creativity Exercise (in FAST Tools) to draw and illustrate where they are going.  Have each group describe their picture to the others and then capture an integrated vision statement based, converting the pictures into narrative.
  2. Or, prepare a draft vision statement (frequently gathered from the senior manager of the group) and write it on a flip chart.  Define a vision statement then review this with the group and have them modify it to meet their needs.
  3. Or, suing the Temporal Shift tool below, have the group develop a newspaper or magazine headline that they would like to see in a major newspaper on the date of the vision—eg, “What would the newspaper headline read on January 15, 20xx?”  Have them embellish the headline with the story behind the headline.  This headline and story support the vision.



Helps facilitate vision by getting groups to agree on where to go or be at some point in the future.


Have you ever had a problem getting a group of friends or family to agree on where to go to eat?  Now try to get a group of bright professionals to agree on where they are headed!  It is much easier to ask and build consensus around “Where have you been?” or, “What type of legacy have you left behind?”

This step defines the specific vision of the organization—where it wants to go.  Projects, initiatives, activities, and organizational effort is directed towards attaining the vision.  Vision drives objectives and other key measures, not the other way around.


Hand out recent copies of an appropriate industry or organizational or trade magazine or periodical familiar to the participants.  Turn them to a specific page (could be the front cover) or column that is frequently read.  The Wall Street Journal could be a default publication that you use, but decide which section will display the headline based on the nature of the group you are working with.

Have each group develop a newspaper headline that they would like to read on the date of their vision—eg, “What would the headline read on January 15, 20xx?”  Have them embellish the headline with the 250 word story behind the headline.

Bring the groups together to compare and contrast.  Work the Bookends looking for similarities and differences.  First convert the headline.  The story items supporting the headlines can then be used to add detail to the vision.

NOTE:  Pretend they are on a beach in the future and pick up this periodical, what you are really asking them is “What is the legacy you have left behind as a result of the effort at hand?”


See the following website for headlines from around the world:    or .


To facilitate vision typically takes from 30 minutes to two hours.


This step is complete when you have a statement (not necessarily grammatically pure) the group believes captures the target or vision of where they want to go.  Check with them to see if they can recognize the target defined by their vision and would agree if they get there.

Reply with any questions you might have by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiatives, refer to our store or consider the book “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need to lead more effective groups, teams, and meetings.

Become Part of the SolutionImprove Your Facilitation and Methodology Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership-training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and numerous tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Monthly Facilitation blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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