An Aspirational Future

In a month, five of us (three board members and Dan and I) are gathering to partake in the first of what we hope will be many inspired and inspiring visioning sessions.  Because everyone’s voices are crucial to the long-term success of CTB, engaging our stakeholders in our deep dive into big picture thinking is vitally important. I am extremely grateful to have time and space for all of us to contribute our hopes, dreams, fears - anything and everything. So, we first answer WHY we are compelled to nurture CTB, which will then lead us to answering HOW we will do so.  The strategic plan and practical issues of discussing events, funding, etc, will happen after we’ve been given this room for creativity, sharing and dreaming.  The essential process is about marrying imagination and strategy – taking intuitive, creative and informed leaps into a possible, aspirational future.

At the suggestion of Horst Abraham, a brilliant business advisor who led my seminar at National Arts Strategies, I’m asking each of us to prepare for our meeting by writing two newspaper articles with headlines: One reporting becoming wildly successful in the pursuit of our ‘Everest Goal’ with short news clips to embellish and add detail to the imagined success story. The other, a failure story, again creating headlines that spell out why CTB failed. Prompts for writing include questions like: What are you most proud of? What are our top 1-3 major accomplishments or “big wins”?  What difference did this make in the world? In the past X years, what is the most significant breakthrough that launched the organization into a whole new level of wild success? How? What happened? Who helped make it happen? What was different?

The purpose of this exercise is to help each of us articulate our own personal WHY which will in turn lead us all toward determining the HOW.  And when we are clear on the why and how, we can happily move into creating our strategic plan.