How to articulate your vision in 4 post-it notes

How to articulate your vision in 4 post-it notes

Here’s an exercise I picked up at a dinner event I attended this past weekend. It’s intended to be for 1 year visioning but can easily be repurposed for other timeframes and contexts.

I’m unsure of its origins but wanted to share here as it’s lightweight yet effective, and is a good way of noticing the actions and impacts you’re setting out to make.


1. Take 4 post-it notes (with a few in reserve)

2. On the first note, take 1 minute to write what you’re doing when you’re at your best. Describe it in a sentence or two (as much as you can fit on a post-it note at least)

2. On the second note, take 1 minute to write what problem you are setting out to solve, or a particular goal you’re looking to achieve.

3. On the third note, take 1 minute to describe which person or group you are serving.

4. Now you’ve got your three post it notes, draw a circle around all the instances of people, communities or groups

5. Next, draw a box around all the actions you’ve written

6. Then underline all the results of the actions, or the impacts that have been made

7. Connect the circled, boxed and underlined words on a new post-it note in this order: the impacts, the people, the actions. It’s unlikely you’ll have a coherent sentence first time out, so make any grammatical adjustments you need until it reads fairly well (herein lies the need for the reserve post-its). When you’re doing this, keep the key words in tact.

8. How does it feel? What’s different from previous versions you may have set out for yourself? Which words jump out? What would you change?

9. Rinse and repeat the above the steps. Now you’ve done it once you should find your final sentence is naturally more coherent and compelling. What else has changed in version 2? Which version do you prefer?

Here’s mine (version 2.2):

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