Is your team too busy doing the doing and don’t know why anymore? Feeling adrift at sea? Maybe your team’s lost focus on why you even exist?
I remember a time a few years ago when, as a busy account handler working for a large integrated agency, I was part of a team that felt overwhelmed by our work. Being a passionate and dedicated team, we worked many evenings and most weekends (all too common in the creative industries). Hamster wheels come to mind.
Looking back, I realised there was something missing. This something would have motivated us, helped us be more creative and innovative; it would have helped us be more accountable to each other and keep us more aligned as a team.
THE POWER OF DREAMING
Dreaming was missing – not the daydreaming that’s frowned upon at school – no, I’m talking about expansive dreaming that inspires, thathelps teams be open to endless possibilities… dreaming that stretches groups beyond their existing capabilities.
Crucially, I’m talking about dreaming that galvanises people. Dreaming that powers action.
When Martin Luther King delivered his ‘I have a dream’ speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on 28 August 1963, he mobilised millions into action across time and space. He inspired people who were there with him, people listening to him on the radio across The States… and even people around the world to this very day.
Closer to home, Winston Churchill’s bulldog-determination and rousing speeches – like ‘We shall fight them on the beaches’ during World War 2 spurred the UK population into action. Did his dreaming win the war? Probably not. But, it certainly had a large impact on keeping people focused and aligned on victory.
DREAMING CAN IMPACT YOUR TEAM TOO
Start by considering whether your team has a shared vision or purpose, maybe get them together and ask them what they think the team’s vision might be.
It might be helpful to do some right-brain dreaming to create your team’s shared vision – it’ll help free yourselves from the repetitive verbal channel that you’ve probably heard once too often! Go on, give it a try – what’s the worst that can happen?
STEP 1: THE VISUALISATION
Get your team together in a space and at a time that allows them to relax and open up. Get them comfortable, maybe ask them to close their eyes and focus on deep breaths. Then s-l-o-w-l-y read this visualisation to your team:
Your team has become famous: you’re known and respected across the whole organisation – even in other offices around the world and now beyond. You’re very comfortable with your fame and all it brings the team. Maybe your team has won an award and you’re making an acceptance speech. What would you say? What is it you’ve become famous for? How did you do it?
Give them around five minutes to individually and in silence write down what comes up for each of them.
STEP 2: INDIVIDUAL HARVESTING
Then go around the room asking each person the following:
- How did that visualisation feel?
- What did you see, hear and feel?
- How was the world changed?
- What was the team’s unique contribution?
STEP 3: SHARED HARVESTING
Then, as a group, ask yourselves:
- What similarites do you hear in the visualisations?
- What differences are there?
- Get curious about what this tells you about your team’s purpose.
STEP 4: CRAFT YOUR TEAM’S PURPOSE STATEMENT
Then start crafting your team’s purpose statement. It has to be a stretch, something that pulls you all forward – a statement that has depth and meaning and that resonates with the whole team.
Work to this structure: “We are the (X) that (Y).” where X = words that powerfully describe your team and where Y = the impact your team has on the world.(Tip: most teams find it easier to work on the Y part first, then do the X afterwards.)
STEP 5: KEEP IT ALIVE
Lastly, consider how you can bring your team purpose statement into your day-to-day – maybe as an email signature, an inspiring poster on the wall or something that’s said at the start of a weekly team meeting – thereby ensuring you often see, feel and think about it. It might also help the team feel better aligned and make team members more accountable.
DREAMING HAS MULTIPLE USES
But that’s just one way to develop your team’s purpose.
Dreaming is powerful. I use dreaming and other creative, expansive and immersive exercises for other purposes in my work to unlock team potential and create high-performing teams.
WANT TO DEVELOP A HIGH-PERFORMING TEAM?