Exploring the Possibilities

Setting the framework for change as a provider of opportunity. 

by Bruce Weber

In the previous article, embracing change, our topic surrounded acceptance that change was all around us and here to stay. Rather than running from the unknown, we should embrace it and look for new opportunities to move forward. Once we’ve have made the decision to move ahead in exploration, how do we dream big and begin? 

It all starts with a framework of knowing the desired destination and outcome. This framework is not a rigid set of ideas disqualifying creativity, but a container to work within. The mission or company purpose provides the focus and direction and defines the why, but the what is determined solely by the individual. Let’s begin by outlining the steps.

The first step is letting one’s imagination wonder and, for a moment — forgetting about the resources needed to deliver, as those analyses will come later — making the sky the limit. A planning tool I use frequently is known as blue dot visioning and originates from space. Carl Sagan, an astronomer who worked for NASA, was a part of the Voyager One probe space exploration visual team. As the Voyager One space probe was beginning to leave our solar system on its journey into deep space, Sagan begged for the camera to be turned around for one final look at Earth. NASA was reluctant at first, fearing it might damage the camera, but finally agreed. The resulting photograph became known as the “pale blue dot.” Our planet appeared as nothing more than a blue spec in the massive vastness of space.

Stepping back and looking from far out at one’s business opens the opportunity to visualize and dream almost anything. In business, we refer to blue dot visioning as the way to think big and outside the norms. This “dreaming” can be incremental additions and enhancements to our business without initially worrying about detail. The only request during this process is to be audacious! Don’t cloud the ideas with details, for the moment. Just dream!

Step two is to circulate ideas and thinking among trusted stakeholders and advisors. Gaining valuable insight from those who understand our business and have an interest in our success will aid in the decision tree as to whether to embark on a specific path or not. We are looking for impact through these conversations but not basing our decisions on the input. It’s important, therefore, to clearly explain that we are exploring.

Step three is to begin to communicate the ideas within one’s organization without worrying about specifics yet. It’s important to underscore to the staff and management that ideas remain in line with the business goals and mission while keeping the core values and business impact in mind. Engaging those internal to the organization will enable inclusion and trust, and help everyone understand the proposals and ideas under evaluation. 

Everyone involved needs to understand that this is a process and that all options will be thoroughly vetted and explored within the framework we establish. Nothing is sacred for the moment and the process provides a chance for anything to be on the table within reason. Ideas will be vetted thoroughly. 

In next month’s article, we will look at the decision framework and the necessary pieces to the evaluation puzzle. In his 1994 book, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, Carl Sagan wrote, “From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.” As we embark on exploring the possibilities for the future created by change, we, too, need to remember that it is our business that’s here, providing value within our community. It all starts with us!  

Bruce WeberBruce Weber is founder and president/CEO at Weber Group. Weber brings more than 20 years of experience to the for-profit and nonprofit community, working with startup, growth and mature organizations. His focus is in strengthening organizations through strategic planning, organizational development, leadership and board development. He is a BoardSource Certified Governance trainer and a founding partner of the Nonprofit Lifecycles Institute.

“Exploring the Possibilities” is the first article in Bruce Weber’s series on Change: The Provider of Opportunity

Execute Wisely and Strategically” (In Business Magazine October 2021)

Making Sense of the Puzzle” (In Business Magazine August 2021)

Embrace the Unknown” (In Business Magazine May 2021)

Exploring the Possibilities” (In Business Magazine June 2021)

Did You Know: Carl Sagan, in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, describes the famous photograph: “The Pale Blue Dot was captured on February 14th in 1990. Since then, along with Sagan’s moving tribute, it’s inspired generations of people to look differently at their place in the universe.” 

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