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UMD, USMx: Generating Vision: Long-Term Big Ideas That Motivate Employees and Stakeholders

The “why movement” linked to crafting purpose and mission statements is now being supplanted by the emerging “where movement.” This movement goes beyond brainstorming towards declaring the “big ideas” that will inspire stakeholders. “Where are we going?” as an organization is the primal question posed by employees that CEOs and product managers must smartly address. This course will teach you how.

Generating Vision: Long-Term Big Ideas That Motivate Employees and Stakeholders
4 weeks
2–3 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

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Starts Feb 22
Ends Jul 1

About this course

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CEOs, founders, and entrepreneurs must routinely craft business plans that clearly describe the company’s future and address trends they see converging. Product managers must ensure that product road-maps don’t get bogged down in iterations so that leap frog innovations take root. Every company’s future must integrate artificial intelligence, manage uncertainty and down-select from infinite choices. Publishing a pithy vision statement often fails to help employees realize their team’s full potential and anticipate future customer needs. This course will help you clearly define a vision of “where” your company is going that will outperform even an inspiring one.

Research demonstrates that companies with a long-term perspective tend to outperform those focused on short-term targets and quarterly goals. By taking a deep look into the future, leaders and employees can identify and mitigate potential blind spots and see patterns that can inhibit or drive growth.

The course will critique multiple company vision statement examples and why they often fail to be motivating. Brainstorming and future thinking must be focused and met with techniques and asking the right questions that when implemented can have a huge impact on the bottom line.

This course will help you to inspire your employees, team-members and all stakeholders through long-term thinking, visioning mindsets, strategic foresight, scenario planning and big idea generation. We will show you how to think long-term and what the many business benefits are. Too little time is allocated to dream big about the company’s future as long-term goals are quickly replaced by short term choices that holds back the full potential of the company. Leaders that don’t take the time to get the big ideas right and communicated will be rapidly replaced. This course will outline the clear differences between mission statements and strategic visioning so that management attention is routinely given towards thinking five to ten plus years into the future.

The danger is in “Short-termism” as too many managers get stuck in day to day thinking as incentives are aligned to think quarterly, small and avoid projects that will take time to deliver bottom-line impact. Visioning has become an essential element of business strategy. Long-term perspective drives success. Yet vision statements often leave employees confused and and even disengaged; retention and relevancy is on the line.

The most clever vision statements often fail to motivate employees if they can’t make sense out of the words and then see themselves within the images, concrete language story telling about the future. Vision statements are often a “check the box” crutch that leaders lean on when they are unable to imagine and get the big ideas right. This course will show that vision statements were never enough to inspire employees to join nor stay with your company. This course will bring you new frameworks, tools and templates that push leaders and mangers towards long-term thinking and planning that drives significant economic opportunity for all stakeholders.

Less than 10% of leader’s self-identify as visionary, according to the Barrett Culture Values Center.

Leaders at all levels struggle with vision and visioning for products, teams, and entire companies. Short-term incentives and behaviors inhibit exploration of the trends that are converging and may disrupt your industry. Leaders often default to generating vision statements that often fail to inspire. Yet, employees and team members crave vision and knowing how their work and longer-term career paths connect to that of the group or entire company. Vision statements were never enough to motivate collective action. while a mission statement may describes why your organization exists, vision can’t be captured in vision statement. The course examines how companies like AARP, Patagonia, Amazon and others use future-back planning, strategic foresight, visioning and long-term thinking to create a north star that pulls leaders up up from the inertia of day to day execution. We will explore the power of and dangers in analogy that held Microsoft back from growth. The course will also examine how nonprofit health care platforms like the Mayo Clinic engages in strategic planning that employs codified beliefs about the future (“the patient will see you now) and how they are looking fifty years into the future of healthcare.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated programs:
  • Associated skills:Product Roadmaps, Ideation, Artificial Intelligence, Visionary, Business Strategies, Management, Brainstorming, Planning, Scenario Planning

What you'll learn

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  1. That vision statements are insufficient to motivate employees and their teams and that “getting the big ideas” right and communicated is essential to answering “where are we going"?” as a company.

  2. High quality examples of companies that encourage long-term thinking and routinely confront the "short-termism" that hinders R&D, innovation and employee connection.

  3. Understanding the difference between purpose/mission statements and vision statements, and the key questions that vision answers.

  4. How to engage leadership teams and employees in shaping a long-term goals that incorporate the sustainable energy and ESG commitments your company supports.

  5. Step by step guidance on how to dream big and generate the "big ideas," that must get done. We will go far beyond writing a vision statement and teach you the mindsets and skill sets that generate motivating initiatives that foster company culture’s of teamwork and collaboration.

  6. How to avoid "blurry” vision statements by using concrete and sensory language and imagery linked to storytelling and thoughtful repetition.

  7. Connecting vision and big ideas to business processes, including strategic planning, company core values, company mission, budgeting, innovation, company culture, new partnerships, employee growth and well-being, ESG commitments and more.

  8. Understand the connection between vision and agile development and product road maps so that product managers can break away from versioning and move towards visioning — while being ethical and transparent about progress.

  • Week 1: Framing the future

    • From the psychology of mental time travel, to the power of reflective thinking, we will frame why vision matters for bottom line results and employee retention. We will also look back in time to the longest lasting organizations on earth and discover what the past can teach us about taking the long view.
    • Week 2: Confronting “Short-termism”

    • Companies routinely cut marketing, research and development and bigger bet projects to achieve short term targets. They do so at a huge costs to all stakeholders. Long-term strategy matters to the bottom line and as a motivation for employees.

    • Week 3:Getting the Big Ideas Right and Communicated

    • We will delve in multiple techniques for long-term thinking including the five archetypes of vision and hone in on why “big ideas” linked to concrete, sensory language are so much more effective than vision statements. We will teach you to avoid blurry vision and explain how Kennedy’s “moon shot” helped tens of thousands of NASA engineers to connect their work to putting a man on the moon by the end of a decade.

    • Week 4: Communicating and Activating a Bold Vision

    • Vision without activation will hurt your credibility with employees and stakeholders. activation requires unique tools and thoughtful repetition. Go deep inside the techniques that draw employees towards the vision and inspire action and motivation for years to come. Even the best vision statements require repetition and then need to be understood within the larger context of the strategy map that guides the company.

We will uncover the difference between purpose/mission statements and vision statements, and reveal the key questions that vision and strategic foresight answers. The course will also help leaders link their sustainability agenda and the unfolding ESG movement to the vision and big ideas that will take time to implement. Multi-generational and “cathedral thinking” will be taught in the spirit of public healthcare innovator Jonas Salk’s invocation that “our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.”

The course also makes the connection between visioning and agile product manager road-maps design so that the larger vision of the company gets federated into the future problems to be solved for customers.

This course is part ofProduct Visioning and Strategy: Preparing for Agile Execution Professional Certificate Program

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Expert instruction
2 skill-building courses
Progress at your own speed
2 months
2 - 3 hours per week

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