I took a small team into a space that needs transformation and asked them what could be done to make the space youthful and vibrant. They weren’t to consider “how” to do it, at least at first. Just imagine possibilities.
Imagination ignites enthusiasm,
instills engagement, and deepens commitment.
About 40 minutes into the conversation, one person began taking the lead. Why did this one rise up? Why did they end up standing in front of the group with everyone else sitting down?
He wasn’t the most creative person in the room. He was the most passionate. He took the lead because he imagined himself and others in the new environment.
“People can’t do things they can’t imagine.”
Peter Jensen, author of, The Winning Factor.
Everyone in the group contributed in significant ways. Everyone was creative. Everyone is dedicated, talented and committed. The one who imagined most rose to leadership.
Leading with imagination:
Jensen suggests leaders use imagery to tap the power of imagination. “Good coaches make constant reference to what they would “see” and “hear” in optimum situations… Ask, ‘What would I see you doing, and what would I hear you saying, if you were demonstrating the qualities of a caring leader,’” for example.
How do you imagine your team and organization when they’re at their best?
People can’t go where they can’t imagine.
Tell people what you want. Jensen says, “Paint clear pictures of what is desired.” Leaders who constantly correct are helping people “not do.” Successful leadership is more about doing than not doing. Jensen suggests leaders:
- Encourage mental rehearsal.
- Imagine someone they know who has a high level of competence at the task.
- Ask performers about their end goal, their dreams, and their vision.
How have you seen imagination change others or yourself?
How can leaders tap the power of imagination on a day-to-day basis?