1. Get out of your office. When creating a Painted Picture for your company you must leave your office. If you sit at your desk or ‘hide’ in a boardroom, you’ll get dragged back into your typical routine and your mind can’t wander into the future. Working from an office tends to put specific constraints on your mind, and that’s the antithesis of this exercise. Forget current metrics, daily tasks and obligations, and the looming question of ‘how?’ and simply let your mind wander.
I have found that the best way to start your Painted Picture is to sit by the ocean, go up into the forest, find a spot in the mountains, or even do what I did when I wrote the Painted Picture for BackPocket COO: lay in your backyard in a hammock and just start sketching or writing. Chapter 1 FREE here gives you more tools too…
2. Abandon your computer. In this specific instance, your computer is considered a negative device that will suck you into the vortex of daily emails and tasks. Get a sketch pad with unlined paper. Initially, it was hard for me to think abstractly because I’m so left-brained. I turned the sketch pad sideways so it was in ‘landscape mode’ and I started mind-mapping. I just began writing down my ideas about what my business would look like three years in the future. Once I had put on paper all of the ideas in my head, I was then able to write a three page description of all of my thoughts.
3. Look at the road in front of you. Don’t focus on how you’ll make it happen. Even with 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, I was by choice never a part of the process of creating the Painted Picture because I was the ‘how’ person. I was able to attract the people and figure out the systems and processes that were scalable for implementation once everyone had conjured up their ideas. In contrast, Brian was the ‘where’ person—he could look at the road ahead and see where he wanted it to go. If I’d been involved in crafting the Painted Picture for that company, I’d have gotten in the way by constantly thinking about how we’d make it happen.
4. Get Creative – YES YOU ARE! Creating a Painted Picture requires you to get out of your comfort zone, and I encourage you to do so. Everyone is creative, so don’t even utter those words.
To ensure you’re getting creative, think about crazy stuff—maybe something too outlandish to share at a meeting or really spend too many ‘work hours” thinking about. I like to use a technique called ‘mind mapping,’ which allows you to plop down thoughts on paper without having to provide explanations of strategies for achieving the desired goal. Here’s a good rule: if what you think about during one of these sessions seems bizarre or unlikely, then include it in your Painted Picture.
5. Enlist support. When you finish your Painted Picture, share it with your employees, suppliers, bankers and lawyers. You’ll then start to see people align with your goals, and the picture will become a reality. It’s incredibly beneficial for your employees, who will use your Painted Picture as a means to understand their role in the grand scheme of things. I’ve even seen business areas within a company form their own version of a Painted Picture that then dovetails into the overarching one. Overall, sharing your Painted Picture with staff will prompt them to make decisions subconsciously in alignment with your vision. Others with whom you share your Painted Picture will also consciously help you make it happen because they are energized by the clarity of your vision.
Here’s my painted picture (link). I don’t care if competitors see it. I want the whole world to see it because then I get everyone working for me for free!
6. Stick to a three year Painted Picture. Sometimes an entrepreneur I coach shares with me their frustration upon returning from vacation to find that their employees made ‘ridiculous’ or ‘bad’ decisions in their absence. Employees don’t wake up in the morning to make bad decisions. They WANT to do the right thing, but if leaders don’t share company goals, then what do they base their decisions on? Employees can’t read your mind.
In order to create an effective Painted Picture, you need to keep one foot firmly planted in the present, while the other reaches out and taps on the soil of the future. If you go much further than three years into the future, you’ll lose your balance and fall over. Stay about three years out and then write down what you see.
Chapter 1 FREE here gives you more tools too… Make it happen! The results will change your company and your life.
For more information on this topic, check out: Building a World Class Culture and Leadership at 100MPH.