Developing Cohesive Vision
By Barry Werner
Every group from a family unit to a Fortune 500 company will benefit by having a mutually understood, clearly communicated vision for all the group members. There will be times when not everyone will agree with the vision but if the vision has been clearly communicated and they clearly understand the vision they can function at a high level within the group.
Unmet expectations almost always lead to dissatisfaction and frustration. When individuals share a commonly understood vision that is clearly communicated the danger of unmet expectation diminishes greatly. When the vision is not commonly known and the communication is lacking at best and non-existent at worst the team will experience symptoms ranging from frustration to fragmentation all the way to total disintegration. Expectations will not be met and there is friction in the home or workplace.
From the home:
My wife and I had a vision early in our marriage for our children. We wanted them to reach certain levels of maturity (generally tied to age) before they would be subjected to specific life situations. We found ways to communicate the big picture in creative ways to the kids mostly from “dos” and “don’ts” from the time they were little on so they really never questioned the vision or our intentions. One of the early communications was there would be no dating until they were 16. Even though the kids thought that was a little old fashion and most of their friends were dating at younger ages, we never had a problem with the kids even requesting to date early.
From the workplace:
World Wide Pictures (WWP) is the film division of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. I served in the role of Director of Operations for 12 years. During my time as Director of Operations WWP was asked to totally reinvent itself. The mission stayed the same but just before I was appointed the Director the decision was made that rather than owning a Hollywood studio and employing all the expert staff to make a movie, WWP would ask to sell the studio and release the staff. Eventually senior management determined that WWP would shift to using outside vendors in a work for hire to produce movies and rather than making one full length film every two years the new WWP would be making one full length film every year and a documentary every year.
We were in absolute chaos for 18 months. Because we did not have a common vision and could not communicate clearly our direction, the staff was fragmented, departments were at odds with each other, and some really good people left WWP. After the 18 months when the vision was clarified and communication was clear we met the goals and did not lose another staff for 10 years.
Clear Communication and Common Vision
Exodus 4:29-31 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
Everyone understood what God’s plan for them was and everyone understood clearly what Moses said and acted upon it.
Common Vision but Unclear Communication
Matthew 22:41-46 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42″What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.
43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, 44″ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” ‘ 45If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Everyone had a common vision that God would provide a Messiah but they didn’t have a communication that everyone understood the same way.
Unclear Communication and Uncommon Vision
Exodus 32:1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
The people obviously had a different vision than Jehovah God as their only God to worship and Moses hadn’t communicated clearly that he may be gone a long time but they should have faith and wait for him to come down from the mountain before taking any action.
Uncommon Vision but Clear Communication
Matthew 19:16-22 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17″Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
18″Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied, ” ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20″All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus clearly communicated what was needed to merit eternal life but they did not share a vision concerning the value of eternal life.