"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The process of creating a vivid picture of the future is an important step in designing a future that is better than yesterday & today. It applies both to the organisation as well as the individual.

A clear, motivating picture can inspire us to reach for the sky & overcome challenges & problems that come along.

Once created, a compelling vision will begin to impact today, as a foundation for new directions.

The brilliant neuro-scientist Dr Karl Pribram of the Stanford University has often described such a phenomenon as an "image of achievement", which in reality has powerful multi-sensory implications, especially for an individual.

By the way, he has postulated the brain model, known as 'Holographic Brain', to help substantiate his theory.

In fact, I like the way futurist Joel Arthur Barker puts it in perspective:

"The future is something you create; not something that happens to you."

”You can & should shape your own future; if you don’t, someone else surely will.”

Crafting a meaningful vision of the future - irrespective of whether it's for an organisational or personal setting - isn't always that easy or simple, but it can be done, with proper coaching & guidance.

Essentially, 'strategic visioning' takes concerted efforts to explore, think, assess, plan, organise, execute, control & monitor. Once a vision is established, one has to follow-through consistently as well as persistently.

To draw lessons from success coach Anthony Robbins, in addition to having the sensory acuity to stay focused on the defined objectives, one also needs to have the mental flexibility to make immediate adjustments & changes, if things are not working according to plan.

After all, success is always the function of making corrections.

Personally, my most profound learning experience with "strategic visioning" came from the late Datuk Eric Chia, former Chairman & CEO of the United Motor Works Group, during the early eighties, when I had just joined the group's Singapore subsidiary as a marketing manager. [When I first met him, he was 'Datuk', but later became 'Tan Sri' after I had left the group in 1987. He will always be in my fond memory as Datuk Eric Chia.]

I had already described my personal learning encounters with him in several earlier posts of my 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog.

My next most productive learning experience with 'strategic visioning' came personally from the legendary corporate strategist Jim Channon in Kona, Hawaii, during the early nineties.

The third encounter came from all the amassed learning materials of large-scale graphic facilitation guru David Sibbet of Grove Consultants, & a few others.

In a nut shell, 'Strategic visioning' is just a powerful term to denote the process of designing a compelling future, for an organisation as well as for an individual.

Dilip Mukerjea likes to call it 'Lifescaping'.

After all, as scenario strategist Arie de geus, & also author of the classic, 'The Living Company', has argued so brilliantly, an organisation is also a "living organism", metaphorically speaking.

Interestingly, as a sidetrack, our planet earth is also a "living organism". Thanks to Dr James Lovelock & his Gaia hypothesis, even though planet earth's friendly genius Bucky, or more officially addressed as R Buckminister Fuller, preferred 'spaceship' as an analogy.

Nonetheless, other experts in the field have fancy term for 'strategic visioning': futurcasting; futurescaping, visioncrafting, just to name a few.

Unlike the traditional & more mundane "strategic planning", which is a readily accepted practice among many businesspeople & professionals, 'strategic visioning' encapsulates a more cogent, cohesive content-rich, big-picture, gestalt-provoking metaphorical perspective.

Operationally, right-brain visual thinking, combined with left-brain analytical approach, plays a vital role in the 'strategic visioning' process design.

My good friend's beautiful lifescape, as recapitulated below, captures the whole essence - the "strategic heartbeat", so to speak - of 'strategic visioning' with its attendant operational intensity, extrapolating from the hindsight of the past, merging with the insight of the present & integrating with the foresight of the future.

Strategically, the purpose of 'strategic visioning' is to help one - organisation or individual - to answer the following pertinent & yet critical questions:

- what have you been?

- where are you now?

- where do you want to go?

- how do you get there?

- how do you keep going?

- how do you know when you get there?

I reckon, the most distinctive feature of 'strategic visioning', based on my own personal & professional experiences, & as compared to 'strategic planning', is the extension of the envisioning of possibilities, where one paints possible future scenarios in order to to think more deeply about the future.

The foregoing is actually a relatively new area of expertise known specifically as 'strategic or scenario exploration', which I will have to cover separately.

In fact, the more possible futures one can imagine & prepare for, the better one will be able to survive that unexpected future that will most assuredly come about.

It is my personal intention to use the next & subsequent posts to explore with readers how 'strategic visioning' actually works, by riding on Dilip's wonderful masterpiece as an intellectual platform.

[To be continued in the Next Post. The bottom image in this post is the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

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