Your vision is the answer to these questions: “What do we want to create? What do we want our community or organization to be like?”
A strong shared vision will bring people together. It will drive planning, decisions, and actions.
Some important points:
1. At this point, do NOT get stuck in the HOW. Instead, concentrate on the future you desire: For instance, Build your vision from the ground up! Involve as many people as possible in creating it. Especially involve the committed movers and shakers.
With many people caring about it, your vision will become powerful. It will catalyze people to work together to make it reality.
2. Don’t solve problems. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. Instead of asking, “How the heck are we going to fix ______?” ask, “What do we want?” and “What does the ideal future look like?”
Invite individuals to ask themselves, “What kind of a community do I want? What do I want my work and relationships in the community to be like?”
Or you could phrase it this way: “It is ____ years from today, and we have created the community of my dreams. Here is a description of our amazing community.”
What is our image to ourselves? To outsiders?
How do we use our historic buildings?
How positive influence does our history have on the present and future?
Who lives here? Who visits here?
What kinds of local businesses thrive here?
How do we interact as a community?
What kinds of events and places bring us together?
What is our unique contribution to the world?
How do we work together?
In what ways is our community a great place to live?
In what ways are we creating a better future for our children?
A good facilitator could be very helpful to help guide your discussion.
Give every one a chance to speak out—not to criticize someone else’s vision but to speak about their own.
Foster a sense of respect for each person’s vision.
Where is there agreement, and where are there disagreements? What are the underlying assumptions driving the disagreements? Concentrate on the areas of agreement for now and set the disagreements aside.
Don’t quibble as a group over wording!! This just wastes a lot of time. Let one person come up with a draft that can be changed later.
Write the vision as a picture of the future you plan to create. Write it in the present tense.
Get the draft (s) out there. Make it the talk of the town.
Test it in conversations, surveys, meetings, etc. Find out what really matters to people.
Revise it based on valid input—but don’t let the town’s perpetual nay-sayers shoot it down.
Make sure elected officials, business community, key organizations, and a good portion of the general public buy into it.