Charge to the Visioning Committee

Charge to the Visioning Committee

A Visioning Committee is being spearheaded by Mary Jane Warner (President), Marcia De La Garza (N.A. Board Member), and Scott Martin (V.P. representing N.A.).  Once a plan of action has been established, additional information will be made available and a call will be put out to membership for involvement and input.

Charge to the Visioning Committee (October 2013)

“A vision without a plan is a dream. A plan without a vision is just drudgery. But, a vision with a plan can change the world.” -Old proverb

As WDA-Americas embarks on the next phase of engaging our ever evolving and increasingly challenging interrelated world, the leadership has been listening to our membership.  It is apparent that it is time for WDA-Americas to re-evaluate, re-vision, and re-plan for our future.

WDA-Americas, like all not-for-profit organizations, faces a future with many externally imposed demands and uncertainties in addition to many internal challenges.  However, WDA-Americas has the opportunity to collectively influence the terms on which we will face these challenges.  We have the ability and the opportunity to develop a realistic view of our current circumstances, to develop our best view of our possible future, and to select the path that we believe will best serve this organization, our membership, and possible future partnerships.  This will require a combination of re-visioning and concise planning, both of which will directly influence the future of the organization for many years to come.

First, let’s define a few terms.  A vision is an idealized picture of the future.  In general terms, it is the future we would like to see for WDA-Americas.  A vision for an organization is often communicated in a sentence or two.

For example, in the USA nation on May of 1961, John F. Kennedy created a vision for mankind regarding space exploration by saying:  “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

This statement painted a clear picture of the desired outcome.  Today, many have seen photos or videos of when this vision was realized – of a human being walking on the moon.  This vision had to first be imagined, then articulated, then planned for, then actions taken, before being realized.

Sometimes the concept of a vision seems vague or superfluous.  However, the process of developing a vision can produce the following benefits:

  • Breaks individuals or the organization out of thinking within boundaries
  • Identifies direction and purpose
  • Alerts stakeholders to needed changes
  • Promotes interest and commitment
  • Encourages openness to unique and creative solutions

Most organizations follow their vision by creating a mission statement.  In general, a mission statement is a sentence or a paragraph that identifies what the organization plans to do, who it will serve, and how it will define excellence.

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem

A strategic plan is the document that captures the outcomes of a strategic planning process.  It sets forth the vision and mission of the organization and then proceeds to record the analysis of the position of the organization (its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), the strategies for success, and a series of goals and plans that implement the strategy and move the organization toward a realization of its vision.  The strategic plan guides the allocation of resources in the accomplishment of the mission.

It is important to realize that the development of a vision, mission, and strategic plan rarely occur in a simple linear fashion.  In reality, the process usually looks more like a circle or a series of circular pathways.  Often when an organization does the work of detailed data gathering and analysis, learning occurs which affects the vision, mission, or the specific provisions of the strategic plan.

The committee should not be surprised if it is necessary to revisit its initial view of a vision on multiple occasions before completing its work when it addresses the mission and overall strategic plan of the organization.

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential” – Winston Churchill

Everything learned in the planning process is as valuable as the plan itself.  The plan makes the organization more aware of its surroundings as well as its challenges and assets.  The act of planning improves our competencies and increases our ability to be flexible and responsive when we face such an uncertain future.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein

After forming a vision, the committee should move beyond the vision to develop a variety of information to be used by the organization in its formulation of a strategic plan.  These outputs should include information that documents:

  • the benefits of this vision
  • the challenges to be managed and the actions needed to support its realization
  • data gathered and used in the development of the vision

The output of this visioning is a necessary, but preliminary, step to shaping our future.  Visions are sometimes the simplest part, with the harder parts being the planning and execution that is necessary to turn the vision into reality.  However, we cannot begin to implement what we cannot envision.

(Post by Scott Martin – Inspired by & modified from TWU Visioning Charge by Ron Hovis)