North Stars and Stretching the Visioning Rubber Band

Wanted to share a few thoughts about visioning, offer some resources, and make some suggestions.

@idelisse and I talked a few weeks ago about “terminology trauma.” We all have it. Someone uses a word, we have bad experiences with how that word is practiced, and so we flag it and sometimes are even triggered by it. In this case, the word I’m referring to is “visioning.” As always, if Miles River is experiencing terminology trauma about something, it’s a good test case for us, because Wye River will likely have it even worse.

Just to repeat what I said on our November 3 call, I don’t think we should do a visioning exercise at our November meeting. But I want us to build on the exercise we did last March. And if folks approve the POP, then we’ll be doing even more visioning next year. So we need to get very clear about what we’re talking about when we talk about “visioning.”

First and foremost, I’d highly encourage all of you to read (or re-read) my blog post about rubber bands and visioning. We may want to consider sending it as part of our pre-reads.

It’s relevant, because it speaks to why designing our November meeting has been so hard. It’s not simply a matter of tackling topics one-by-one. It’s doing it in a way that folks are experiencing the effect of the rubber band.

(As a sidenote, we may also want to consider bringing rubber bands this year to reinforce the metaphor.)

This morning, Susannah Fox shared a really great example of what a clear vision + North Star looks like.


It reminded me of something Susannah posted a few years ago that also was a great example of a clear vision. Check out the cartoon in this post.


When you have an artifact that represents a clear vision and north star that the group itself arrived at together and own, then it is tremendously powerful and catalyzing. That, ultimately, is where we want to get to with this group next year. As a path to that, I want to take their work from March and start offering possible artifacts that might help them get there.

One way possibly to do this (and Ide, I would love it if you played with this idea) would be to create a physical visioning space in our room in November. What would it look like to physically transform a corner of that space to represent some of the vision that folks put out last March? How might we do it? Would love to hear people’s ideas!