Why Dragon Dreaming is the new project management tool
Focus on celebrating the dreams you’ve achieved, and let go of what went wrong so you can dream it all over again.
If you’re reading this article, I can bet you’re the fast-paced, a hundred ideas per second type. You have an endless list of dreams, and often put several of those in the “future projects” drawer by your bedside table.
Or, maybe you’re so certain of that old dream of yours and working so hard to achieve it that you often forget to stop and look back to what you have achieved so far or what went wrong and how that may be the clue for whatever comes next.
Our performance-obsessed world, tight schedules, external pressures, internal bias and fear of failure only result in frustration. We might know where we want to go, but we have no idea how to actually get there. And this alienating environment leaves us constantly hanging between a frustrating comfort zone or an overwhelming panic zone.
So how can we raise our level of consciousness, mitigate uncertainty and achieve a satisfying sense of fulfillment and collective belonging in project management?
Dragon Dreaming was initially developed by John Croft, based on inherited wisdom from the Western Australia Aborigines people. He thought of it as a system thinking tool, translated into a participative and holistic methodology to foster creativity, collaboration, and sustainability within any project.
Don’t you see how, for thousands and thousands of years, our ancestors would gather around a fire to share their dreams and tell stories, from which they would make decisions, plan activities, and then gather again around a new fire only to celebrate it all at the end of the day?
I didn’t realize this either. But the link is real — or so thought John Croft.
In the prologue of “Dragon Dreaming in Action, A guide to designing projects for personal growth, community building and service to the Earth”, John Croft underlines that 90% of projects fail to work according to plan — the same amount as the business startups who don’t make it to their 4th anniversary. To him, it means that only 1 person out of 1000 ends up seeing their dream come true. And that’s exactly what the methodology aims to change.
Dragon Dreaming as a process allows teams to build together a strong vision (dream), turn it into concrete objectives (plan) and actions (doing), and then acknowledge the whole process to move on (celebrate). No wonder it has become such a popular project management tool: by disrupting the traditional approach and creating new behavioral patterns, it unites teams around their tasks while promoting company engagement, ownership and joy through a feeling of success. Yes, all that.
Dragon Dreaming introduces a simple, playful and creative process as key to stimulate motivation, vision alignment, and engagement towards a certain task or project, working with wisdom, creativity, and a united front with each person’s strengths. So how can we engage all these different sides to work together? By considering them all part of the same creative process.
This one seems familiar. In fact, we all think this is our area of expertise: how could you not be good at dreaming? You do it every night without even thinking about it. But there’s more to it.
Dreaming is where all innovation is born: no disruptive process was ever found by a purely linear executed action plan. Dreaming unleashes and maintains creativity.
Did you know that an estimated 90% (yes, again) of ideas get blocked in the dreaming stage? Lack of courage, fear of failure, procrastination, lack of confidence, panic zone, insert your excuse… There are many reasons why.
But the first and most common mistake is not giving yourself or your team the time and space to dream… and dare! If you’re not aware of your daydreams, you’ll never share them. And if you don’t share your ideas, you won’t be able to get a team around it or ever start planning for it.
Sharing your dreams is the first step to making them reality. Together with your peers, you will come up with new ideas, define better strategies and get a plan. In consultancy, there is a common saying: “plans only exist to tell you where have you failed”.
To some extent, planning is what allows you to achieve the objective, learn what works and what doesn’t, and let yourself be surprised by everything else you’ll find along the way. In a nutshell, planning is what brings your ideas from dreams into reality.
Transformation is all about “walking the talk” rather than “talking the walk”. Most business ideas fail to last longer than 3 years, and usually due to lack of scalability possibilities, effective succession planning or… founders burnout. This is where Dragon Dreaming can help you break the system.
There’s no efficient doing without creative and accurate planning, and no effective planning without a self-incorporated routine of daydreaming.
While poor planning and lack of self-discipline eventually lead to frustration, apathy, and avoidance behavior patterns, building a strong bridge between dreaming and doing will keep you motivated, engaged and with a clear vision of why you’re doing all of this.
Celebrating (& evaluating)
As resilient and goal-oriented entrepreneurs, this is often the part where we struggle the most. When was the last time you paused to acknowledge everything you’ve done so far, and actually celebrate it? Have you really made peace with that failed strategy, while daring to start over?
But wait: 25% of your time allocated to celebration? Who has time for this? What about my never-ending to-do list? Who is going to actually get the work done?
But you see, that’s exactly the point of this methodology. If you’re always doing and going back to planning and doing and planning some more without taking the time to stop and reflect on what has been done, how will you have time to dream again and design better plans for the future?
Nowadays, stopping to breathe, being grateful and having fun is a privilege. We’re constantly thinking about that client we still need to reply to, or all the urgent and important tasks we’re already late on delivering.
But the joy you get out of actually celebrating is as important as the first three steps of Dragon Dreaming to allow real transformation insights.
“Reflect four different ways of thinking, four different ways of speaking, four different personality types.
If you are a “Doer” your biggest frustration will be to work with “Dreamers” all day long. And if you are a “Planner” you find the “Celebrators” are chaotic and disorganized whilst the “Celebrators” find the “Planners” are just boring.
But to make your dream come true, you need all four kinds of people in your project Dream Team.” Dragon Dreaming International