Vision and Mission: People buy why you do a thing

As part of the Cooperative Design Lab we give a workshop on vision and mission process. This gets into core values and participatory process is at the heart of regenerative leadership practice. Recently reviewing some literature on the subject, I noticed there is an interesting range of styles and assumptions about leadership in the visioning process, among authors in the field.

In Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, Bryan Smith has a chapter titled “Building a Shared Vision“. He explains several developmental stages of an organization facing change and he presents these stages in relation to participation. Within his range of participatory engagement, he suggests that we be objective about where an organization is at, then work up from there. One of the things about this model of vision work I notice is that cooperatives is that they are already at the highest developmental stage! According to this model, that stage is labeled co-creating. Still there is an approach to arrange from founder or steering committee to co-op and attending to that is important to attend to for relationships sake.

Starhawk as a different style than that of Smith, or that of the Fieldbook in general. In her book, Empowerment Manual, she offers more cultural variability than the “business-as-usual” approach of mainstream organizational development. Both works in comparison are holistic, however Starhawk’s work invites a broader audience than than multinational corporations. At least that is how it seems to me. Empowerment Manual reflects on a different range of experiences. I personally enjoy her permaculture influence on the OD topics as well.

In the vision and mission workshop, I pull into the mix Alan Savory’s idea of “Holistigoals” like Starhawk does. Savory being a failed livestock management expert learned some powerful lessons about animals and the regenerative services they provide to land. Earth ethics and practices are integrated in Savory’s holistic management model that includes three parts of a goal.  These are the following:

a.) The quality of life that you want,

b.) future resource base, and,

c.) what you need to produce.

You can read about that here and see something about it in my prezi posted below.

For Co-op Design Lab’s Vision and Mission workshop, I also draw from Looby Macnamara’s book People and Permaculture and Peter Block’s work Community: The Structure of Belonging. If you are new to all of this there is a tremendously accessible Vision and Mission Worksheet resource available through the Creative Commons (cc) made available by  Craig Von Korlaar.

Here is the presentation that I have created for the workshop on vision and mission process. Feel free to share or borrow if you are considering the need for a visioning workshop as a way to establish common understanding in your group.


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