Do You Have a Vision?January 20, 2010 Leave a comment
It’s the beginning of a new year, and all the treadmills are occupied at the gym. It’s hard to find any space in the locker room because so many people are set on establishing a new healthy routine for 2010. I’m not a new year’s resolution person, but I am thinking about fresh starts, renewed commitments to be good to myself, and shifts in the projects I’m going to put my energy towards. At IISC, we’ve committed to a new strategic direction for the next three years. Perhaps you’ve been mapping out your personal workplan for 2010 or doing some beginning of the year reflection with your peers, about how you want to work together this year to achieve progress on whatever social justice project you’re working on.
I wonder, do you have a vision for the world you want to see? Have you articulated it to yourself? Have you articulated it to your colleagues? Do you know what your co-conspirator’s visions are? I generally find this to be a very difficult exercise. I can talk, for example, about what’s wrong with the mainstream media’s treatment of the current crisis in Haiti, but have a much harder time describing what economic justice looks like. And at the same time, I know that I feel more closely connected to people and am more excited to dig into work with them when I know something about their passion and motivation and when I have shared something about what kind of change I hope to ultimately be contributing to.
If you’ve facilitated groups of people within a non-profit or across organizational boundaries who are working on something together, or even worked on a social justice project within an organization or independent of one, you may have grappled with the following questions. If so, what insights can you share?
- What are your favorite tools or exercises that engage people in articulating their vision?
- How do you create a space that allows for healthy dissonance among the visions of the people in the group?
- When do you think engaging a group in visioning exercises is helpful, and when is it not?
- To what degree does a group need to agree on a collective vision for their work or for the long-term impacts of that work?