Vision-board: the emotional business plan

I recently run a workshop where I chose to teach a slightly more alternative tool called vision boarding.

I discovered vision-boarding a couple of years ago and has been amazed its simplicity and power. In its basic form, vision boarding involves browsing through magazines, cutting out pictures and words that grab your attention and amalgamating them on a piece of paper. By visualising the future through images and writing, we bring out the wishes, patterns and motivations that are guiding our, often, subconscious decision-making.

Vision-boarding workshop, Global Entrepreneurship Week Guernsey 2017

Vision boarding is a form of the wider practice of visualisation and a universal tool and can be used to clarify the future for a business idea, seek guidance for a project or provide framework on priorities for the next phase of life. Olympic athletes have been using visualisation for decades, while psychologists report that this technique activates the same brain patterns as when we actually do the work of attaining those wishes.

After a few puzzled faces following my instructions, everyone got busy cutting out and gluing dozens of pictures from a wide range of print magazines. After an hour, it was fabulous after to witness everyone’s vision-boards come together. The biggest sceptic in the room would have no doubt that these pieces of paper with random images and words stuck on them had some profound meaning to each attendee. From trilogy writing and running a charity, to surviving a deep trauma and setting-up a business – everyone had their unique goal and dream in mind and seemed to achieve useful and often unexpected insights.

Vision-boarding worshop, Global Entrepreneurship Week Guernsey 2017

In my own journey as an entrepreneur, investor, non-executive director and mother, my biggest leaps in personal development as a leader have come from the work, coaching and practices that have helped raise awareness about human psychology, mind-set and emotional intelligence. Something that is labelled as soft-skills and often ranked a distant second to the “tangible” technical skills in the corporate world.

Many books are written and practices developed on the subject of creating business plans.

They all focus on the tangible, measurable, dry parameters such as financial projections, target demographics, solution outline, competitive advantage and so on.

While the above factors are important, they are like a tip of an iceberg. They miss the underlying psychological dynamics, wishes and desires of the founder and the team.

These can derail the startup before they get to the prophetic “product-market” fit because they’ve failed to achieve the “product-maker” fit – working on the right product/service solution for the founding team’s profile. Or they miss the bigger picture of they “why” founders are working on a project, the deeper motivations and desires (often to change the world), which often conflict with the typical requirements of business plans to show projected time to exit.

I don’t stop getting amazing at the power of tools like vision-boards to help businesses at all stages of their journeys – an emotional roadmap and guidance that underpins the driest of numbers.

They help uncover the authentic voice and purpose of the business to serve customers from a place of heart, not ego and greed.

Vision-boards are a tool to make founders, leaders, team players and more conscious and aware about the depth of their iceberg and create businesses full of purpose, values and beliefs that customers are so attracted to.

A recent vision-board from the Island Mums team

Posted on March 06, 2018

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