Envisioning with teams & organisations

I felt inspired by working together in 2020 with the Leadership Team from NGO ‘Smile and Olive’. As a ‘Culture First’ organisation they have embraced their mission statement and culture as a second nature. Remember: ‘A good team survives a bad product. But a good product doesn’t survive a bad team.’ (Michel Akkermans)


Any team (‘meso’) or organisation (‘macro’) can benefit now by ‘slowing down to go much faster’. It’s one of the principles I adopt in everything I do with groups, teams and individual coachees. 
Or do we continue ‘being busy by being busy’?

‘Slowing down to go much faster’ from the perspective of different vision building blocks: 

  • mission => sample question:  ‘how has our reason of existing changed as an organisation / as a team?’  
  • strategic goals => sample question: ‘what are audacious goals we should be focusing on the coming x months?’ 
  • roles => sample question: ‘who will be doing what differently?’ 
  • processes => sample question: ‘how will we improve our meeting efficiency?’
  • interaction / values / culture => sample question: ‘how can we create a culture of permanent feedback?’

The role of leadership, to some extent collective, is to ensure that the vision building blocks above are not only debated one-off, but continue to stay a team and organisational topic.  

And: clear communication is not the same as meaningful communication. The mission statement of your department can be intellectually understandable to all (= clear). But that doesn’t mean by default that all team members want to jump out of bed every morning and contribute to the mission (= meaningful).

Finally: vision building together with teams and organisations, I warmly recommend to work on the building blocks ‘mission’ and ‘interaction’ first. Please send me a personal message to discuss why.


‘Slowing down to go much faster’ was precisely how the Leadership Team from NGO Basmeh & Zeitooneh  – ‘Smile and Olive’ and I co-created change. Lebanon, Turkey and Belgium united in a limited number of online group sessions.

These leaders breathe the desire to empower individuals through working amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in Syria’s neighboring countries. 

I would like to call Smile and Olive a ‘Culture First’ organisation

Making an analogy with a private organisation a gazillion of times bigger in size: IKEA. Some weeks after the start of the lockdown, the company boldly announced a Culture First statement:

‘In challenging times like these, we are guided by our culture and values and people remain in the heart of everything we do. This is why will we take a huge leap investing and supporting our +166.000 colleagues’. (…)

Fluffy? Powerful, if you ask me.

Credible? Yes, provided they try and persist to truly live up to their promises.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

More Articles


Send Me A Message

How can I help you?


Subscribe to my newsletter