How to Leverage the Power of Imagination to Develop Leaders

Will Durante summarized some of Aristotle’s thoughts when he wrote, “You are what you do repeatedly….”

You are what you repeatedly do AND what you do begins with imagination. You only do what you first imagine yourself doing.

If you can’t imagine it, you can’t do it.

Imagination is the beginning of everything we create.

Image of a mystical foot bridge.

The gap between aspiration and imagination is first bridged with imagination.

First things first:

The gap between aspiration and performance is first bridged with imagination.

You imagine how you’ll handle a tough conversation or lead a meeting, then you do it. Untested skills and behaviors are first practiced in your imagination.

Excellence is bringing performance into alignment with imagination.

Beginning not end:

Imagination is a beginning. You can’t become a great communicator by sitting on the couch imagining your words influence others.

Imagination doesn’t create anything. Only action brings things into existence.

You become who you imagine yourself to be, but only when imagination shapes action. What if you can’t imagine new actions?

Who do you know:

Suppose you’re helping someone develop finesse with tough conversations. Ask them to tell you how they might handle the next conversation. If they say, “I don’t know,” tap into their imagination.

Ask, “Who do you know that is great at leading tough conversations?” After they say someone’s name, ask them, “What might they do?” Make a list of three behaviors.

Repeat this exercise two or three times. Ask, “Who else comes to mind?” (The people you discuss don’t have to be perfect.)

Use the list of behaviors. “Which of these behaviors might you try?” Follow that with, “Could you tell me what you might do if you tried that? Be as specific as possible.”

New behaviors first live in our imagination.

You become who you imagine yourself to be if you put imagination into action.

How do you help people develop new behaviors?