From Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work

Poetic Vision

We are ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative.

Julia Cameron

Our organization, the Meteorological Association of New Zealand Limited, had just gone through a period of intense change, moving from being a government department to an independent, thriving and expanding weather forecasting business. We had no models to follow, and it was very clear to us that what our whole organization needed was the power of a shared vision.

In the government days, the approach had been to reduce costs by computerizing everything in sight. This was particularly true in the forecast room. Although the work practices in the forecast room didn’t undergo much change when we left the government, we decided to change the philosophy behind the work. We stressed that people, not computers, were in charge of the forecast process, supported by good systems and equipment. We had not yet put this philosophy to work, and the time had come to have a vision statement for the forecast process.

So, after strenuous debate and thrashing out of the basic issues, a set of fine words emerged—workmanlike, but hardly riveting.

A forecast service exploiting information with skill and effective techniques, in an inspiring environment, for the benefit of the customers.

As we sat around the table, administrators, professors and forecasters, struggling to find a way to communicate this vision to the rest of the company, a man named Marco cleared his throat and read:

We exploit information on weather

With techniques that grow ever better

Our inspiring environment

And high skill requirement

Make our customers love us forever.

Silence. Someone took Marco’s paper and copied the verse on the board. The laughter broke out, as well as enthusiastic cries of, “That’s it!”

We still smile when we refer to it. Even the board of directors smiled. And changes are happening consistent with its meaning. In one moment, we moved from boring and proper to fun and effective!

John Lumsden

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