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chapter six Creating a Road Map: Vision to Action

Stout, Linda Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

If it can be imagined then surely it can be created, too.

DAVID HICKS

A vision works only if we create a plan for how to accomplish it—a road map to get to our goal. Because we know the place we’re moving toward, we have more patience if the road detours or if we encounter flat tires, dead batteries, or other stops and starts as we move toward our vision.

Vision grounds and leads our work for change. However, without action it stays “just pretend,” as one of the Rethink kids said. The kind of action that comes out of a collective vision is different from the reactive or defensive action we too often see. It empowers people to have hope and to take action together. It takes people beyond what they might think of if the action is grounded only in current reality. With vision, we tap into intuitive, creative knowledge that allows us to think outside of the box. It allows us to think of new ways of working, create inspired solutions, and be more open to opportunities that arise.

Sometimes people are resistant to making long-term plans because they think doing so locks them into one way of working and does not leave the flexibility to change in the moment. This is not true: we can respond to urgent, unexpected emergency situations while moving toward our vision. I often answer this concern by asking folks to think of the analogy of creating a personal budget. We need to know we have the money for our mortgage or rent, utilities, food, clothing, and so on. But having a budget doesn’t mean that we stick to it rigidly. We may decide we need to take an unbudgeted vacation or splurge on a special book or shoes. But by having a budget, we know when we need to juggle or cut back on other expenses because we decided to spend outside of our budget. Creating plans for action works the same way. Of course, sometimes we need to shift in order to respond to a current situation, whether it’s a crisis such as the Gulf Oil spill or the loss of a major foundation grant. But it is easier to make critical decisions like this in the context of a long-term strategic plan based on our vision.

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contents

Stout, Linda Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781605098821

chapter one How Collective Visioning Works

Stout, Linda Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

In a time of great global change, humanity is still relying on the old myth of survival and domination. We need a new myth, a new vision, a new definition of power and leadership. We must go away from the old model and toward one of creative cooperation on our small and threatened planet.

JONETTA COLE

If you can’t imagine a better world, you can’t create one. If you can imagine a better world, you can make one. In order to do this, we have to vision collectively.

Collective visioning happens when a group of people, with guidance, envision a future together. The approach to collective visioning in this book begins with leading people through an individual guided meditation around a theme. The theme can be a very broad question, such as, “What do we want our world or community to look like twenty-five years from now?” Or it can be really specific: “If we could change the media to truly reflect our community and the wishes of ordinary people, what would it look like in ten years?” When I did collective visioning with a group called Rethink: Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, we asked. “What should our schools look like so we can feel safe and healthy and have a positive learning environment?”

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chapter two Laying the Groundwork for Collective Visioning

Stout, Linda Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

MARGARET WHEATLEY

Designing a collective process that works for everyone involved is a critical first step in creating a successful collective vision for change. To prepare people to work together, you need to understand how to do the pre-work to build trust and bring together a diverse group; how to create an inclusive, welcoming space; and how to facilitate. These tasks take time and energy, but don’t skimp here. The time and effort you put into laying the groundwork makes extraordinary results possible.

First, you need to know whom you want to be a part of this effort. If you already have a diverse group or organization, you won’t need to do this step, but if you are starting from the beginning, you need to know how to build your group. If the visioning will be centered around an issue, such as education or the environment, you will be seeking a specific group of people. If you are working at a community level to address people’s concerns, then you will be looking for a broader group to represent the community.

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chapter four Storytelling to Build Trust and Community

Stout, Linda Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Standing in my power, affirming self in stories.… Shifting mind states, I conceive new narratives seeing clearly, singing boldly: I am the change I’ve been waiting for.

TAIJ KUMARIE MOTEELALL

One of the key first steps in the deep work of collective visioning is storytelling. This is because, for many people, the hopelessness, anger, and hurt they may have experienced in the past gets in the way of visioning; these feelings have to be acknowledged and healing needs to occur. In the last chapter, we saw how personal visioning can help people prepare for collective visioning. Storytelling is a powerful way to do that, too.

Why is storytelling so important to visioning? Visioning is a form of storytelling—creating a story of the future we want. Our own stories ground us in the present while empowering and motivating us or, in some cases, providing healing and connection. Unless we connect with our own stories and truly listen to those of others, we won’t be able to vision collectively into the future.

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