It’s XPLANE’s year.


The Chinese Year of the Sheep is known for design and creativity and so are we.


Design is part of everything we do at XPLANE. It’s at the heart of our discovery sessions, because we know that visual thinking helps any group of people grasp complex ideas faster. It’s at the core of the solutions we develop with clients because we know design helps organizations align and move in the right direction.


In Chinese lore, sheep prefer to work in harmony in groups and so do we.


We believe that working with multidisciplinary groups to co-create produces lasting solutions that help organizations change. Top-down solutions almost always hit roadblocks or resistance.


Designing goals for the Year of the Sheep

If you want success in the Year of the Sheep for your organization, try a little design and creativity. This is an exercise you can do to develop goals for your team that everyone has a hand in creating.


Everyone needs a piece of paper and a marker. Then read the following instructions s-l-o-w-l-y.


Sit for a minute and, just suppose…just suppose that tonight a miracle occurred and when you walked into the office tomorrow, it was next January. And just suppose everything you hoped would happen over the year had come true. What does that look like? Draw that picture. What’s changed? What are you doing differently? What are others doing differently?


Take at least 5 minutes to let everyone complete his or her picture. Then, go around the room and ask each person to describe his or her picture and create a gallery of the pictures on one wall.


Note the themes and the elements that make people shake their heads in agreement. Note what people say they would be doing differently.


Now, ask your team to take a big poster-sized sheet of paper and use the themes that resonated among the group to create one single picture.


Put that picture on the wall and use it as your guide for the year. In subsequent meetings ask what’s working to get you to that vision. Ask what steps you need to take next to get there.


Welcome to the Year of the Sheep. 

*And in case you are wondering if it’s the year of the sheep or the goat, in traditional Chinese the words for sheep and goat share the character 羊, so you can use either animal.