A “Living Vision”

Emergent Organizational Development and Emergent Change® is a registered trademark, 2017. All writings are considered under copyright as per The Institute For Emergent Organizational Development and Emergent Change®, Patrick Trottier and Associates. Written permission is required.

© Patrick A. Trottier

VISION → SHARED VISION → LIVING VISION

The notion of a ‘living vision’ has three basic ideas:

1. The vision continually emerges in ‘present’ time…

2. A person(s) is either living and further manifesting the ‘vision’ in current time so that people (internal and external) are actually experiencing such day-to-day.

Or, simply, people are not manifesting such, and thus the ‘vision’ does not live in the ‘now’.

3. A future ‘vision’ will not probably exist in some ambiguous future because of the rapid changes in our world.

The past does not exist. The future does not exist. Thus, no one knows the future trends and patterns that may influence the vision of the future, and what that will look like

The manifestation and emergence of ‘the vision’ can only be in the ‘now’.

Around the beginning of the 1990s there was a lot of talk about creating a ‘shared future vision’. It was the rage in all the executive off-sites. It was the focus of many ‘fire side chats’ between the executives and their managers and then passed along from the managers to their staff. I think the objective was to have everyone have the same ‘future vision’ and if everyone had the same future vision, then everyone would certainly work toward that vision. I thought a lot about this approach as it had many positive attributes but the ‘stated future vision’ seemed to fade over time and few of its attributes and intentions had been sustained into actualization.

Soon, I noticed a significant difference (gap) between the ‘shared vision’ and the reality of people’s day-to-day experiences within the organization. There was quite a gap. The vision was about a perfect place. The reality of working there day-to-day was quite another description.

Understanding that people fundamentally and naturally form norms, values, beliefs and attitudes from their experiences, the idea was growing that if ‘people had different ‘experiences’ on a consistent and congruent basis, such may have a significant influence on the culture of an organization, performance, and make the ‘vision’ sort of a living entity.

This is about the time when I started to think about the concepts of a “living vision”. I remember the first time I had asked a group of Sr. Managers to take down the Mission, Vision and Values statements from their offices and hallways. I then asked them to explore ‘how to really live’ their vision and values day-to-day, and to come up with some simple but concrete actions and behaviors to give other people ‘new experiences’.

I thought that was the key and focus: ‘the idea that people need to manifest and thus experience an emerging vision as the norms, beliefs and values continually evolve in their internal and external environments’. Simply, live what you want the organization to be like.

The only criteria given was: “To do something that gave others ‘concrete experiences’ where those experiences were congruent with the mission, vision and values of the organization in some, concrete and congruent manner.”

Its been my experience that after some discussions and after exploring some ways that could happen, the Sr. Managers seemed to enjoy the possibilities discussed – there was energy behind it.

The ripple effect. After a few weeks, some new ‘experiences’ seemed to manifest new patterns in the organization.  Some of the people whom Sr. Managers gave new experiences to started to act differently and they started giving new experiences to the people they worked with. Thus, it was quite obvious that eventually such new ‘experiences’ began to manifest new behaviors, that then created new experiences for others. Thus, the ripple effect.

It was not as smooth as it sounds here. It took a conscious effort, a shift in mindset and through such a conscious effort, and with some consistency and some congruency, something took hold.

I believe this was the ‘core’ of the thing: “New experiences may and can evoke new perceptions of self and others, new concepts, attitudes and new behaviors.” No doubt this premise is based on, as mentioned previously, the concept that humans are experiential in their learning and assimilation of new norms, values and perspectives.

Through these efforts the vision and values started to ‘live’ and emerge in day-to-day practices and behaviors. Performance was more focused to the Mission and Purpose of the organization.

At the same time, because it is ‘living’, a vision can and does evolve as new information, ideas, influencers, patterns and experiences emerge and are internalized and integrated amongst the organization, the people and its internal and external environments.

As mentioned at the beginning, the notion of a ‘living vision’ has three basic ideas:

1. The vision continually emerges in ‘present’ time…

2. A person(s) is either living and further manifesting the ‘vision’ in current time so that people (internal and external) are actually experiencing such day-to-day.

Or, simply, people are not manifesting such, and thus the ‘vision’ does not live in the ‘now’.

3. A future ‘vision’ will not probably exist in some ambiguous future because of the rapid changes in our world.

The past does not exist. The future does not exist. Thus, no one knows the future trends and patterns that may influence the vision of the future, and what that will look like.

The manifestation and emergence of ‘the vision’ can only be in the ‘now’.

 

© Patrick Trottier and Associates, 2014

About Patrick A. Trottier

I am a 30 plus year applied Organizational Development practitioner having honed my craft in the U.S., Canada and internationally. Presently living in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., I am currently developing the next evolution of O.D. termed; 'Emergent Organizational Development and Emergent Change® (EODC)®, and focusing on Emergent OD®, Emergent Change® and the development of Emergent Organizations® within my professional practice.
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1 Response to A “Living Vision”

  1. E A Hamm says:

    Love the “Living Vision” focus; interested in what actions they undertook that catalyzed the amazing things that started to occur. How did they ‘activate’ the “Living Vision”?

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