Employees often groan when their managers ask them to create individual goals for the coming year. Some people think it’s just one more meaningless exercise to go through, like the flavor of the month, which will be forgotten in 30 days. Or perhaps it conjures negative reactions to making New Year’s resolutions – like losing 10 lbs by March 1. You’re all excited at the start, but by the end of January, you’re back to eating chocolate cake at lunch.
It doesn’t have to be that way. You can encourage team members to make personal goals at work that are fun to create, meaningful and lasting. You can start a company ritual of creating photomaps.
I completed a master’s degree in 2016 in organizational development and for my research project, I studied meeting rituals that embed corporate values. One interesting ritual I found in two of the companies studied was the annual creation of photomaps (also called vision boards or treasure boards) by each team member. A photomap is a visual representation, using pictures cut from magazines and glued to a poster board, of the personal goals you have for the coming year. I have done a personal vision board for years, but not in a corporate setting. I was intrigued at first, and then became convinced this is a great ritual for both team building and for connecting team member’s personal goals to their work at your company. And, if you have a corporate goal of Putting Employees First or Respect for Employees, this is an effective way to embed that value into the culture.
Both companies I studied hold special meetings during January for their team members to create their own photomaps. At MarketWave, a marketing agency, CEO Tina Young explained the process: “I instruct each person to come up with a goal for the various areas of their lives, using the acronym RICHES For Life, which stands for Relationships, Intellect, Contribution, Home, Economics, Spirituality, Fitness and Leisure. I invite them to find a visual from a magazine that represents each of their goals. Everyone brings in magazines from home in January. We gather around the big table and devote 2 hours to create the photomaps.” The company provides each employee with a photo frame (11X14 inches in size) and asks each team member to display their photomap on their desks or bulletin boards.
At Acuity Systems, the Sandler Sales Training center in Dallas, TX, CEO Tom Niesen also has a company-wide photomap or vision board ritual. One of his team member’s photomap is pictured at the top of this article. Tom encourages them to mark off the goals as they are completed during the year. If you examine the photomap at the top of the article, you might notice the word “DONE” marked across two of the photos. Tom wants to help his team members achieve their personal goals. He explains it by saying, “You will see a treasure board on our people’s walls with pictures of what they want to get, accomplish or buy next year. Once we figure out what they want to accomplish, we say, What can we do to help you get that house, and how much work do we do to accomplish it? We take the big picture and break it into our rocks or quarterly goals for the year.”
I created my own photomap, with a 21st century twist. Instead of flipping through dozens of magazines, I did Google searches for images that represent my goals and printed them out on my color printer, using high quality paper. And instead of using RICHES For Life as my guideline, I created the following general areas for my goals, which are meaningful to me: revenue, work, spiritual, physical well-being, education, friends, family and travel. Here’s a picture of my 2016 photomap, which is displayed on my bulletin board in back of my computer where I can see it all day.
Here’s the crazy thing: I had not created a photomap for three years. Over the December holidays I was cleaning my office storage closet and found the last photomap I did in 2013. I was surprised – no, shocked! – to see that all the goals I had envisioned had become realities. That alone was enough to get me started making my photomap for 2016.
How to Create a Photomap
Here is a list of the materials you need to hold a photomap meeting at your company:
At your company’s next departmental meetings, encourage team members to present and explain their photomaps. Then ask how the rest of the team can support each other in attaining their goals. Additionally, at the next one-on-one meeting between the team member and her manager, the manager should offer support in achieving the team member’s goals for 2016. Lastly, ask each person to display their photomap at their desk or on their bulletin board so it is always visible.
I highly recommend this practice as a way to
a) Connect employee’s personal goals to their work at your company
b) To have a meaningful and fun New Year ritual and
c) Build teamwork as the teams create and support each other to achieve their dreams.
Let me know how your photomap meeting goes!
From the desk of