Mission vs. Vision LO26830

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 06/20/01

Replying to LO26805 --

Dear Organlearners,

Bill Harris <bill_harris@facilitatedsystems.com> writes

>After hearing enough debate about these terms
>elsewhere (before this thread came up), I found
>it helpful to think of "vision" and "mission" as
>names such as "Sue" and "Jane." I'm not at all
>sure I can a priori recognize who or what a "Sue"
>should be, but, once introduced, I can usually
>connect a particular person with her name, "Sue,"
>assuming I don't have trouble connecting the
>name and the face. Nametags help.

Greetings dear Bill,

I think that you have an important point here which I would like to add
the following: "Call them Jack and Jill who have to go up the hill ....".
In other words, the two are complementary to each other and yet they have
to go together up the hill. So they are complementary duals.

Nametags seldom help me personally. For example, I will remember faces
which I have seen once dozens of years ago. In this I am like an elephant.
(Do nothing bad to an elephant because an elephant never forgets faces ;-)
But I will easily forget the name within 5 minutes of face to face
dialogue with that person. It is because the face tells me far more than a

As to your advice

>When you're with an organization and they
>start talking about vision and mission and ...,
>get them to put down in words (1 sheet of
>paper with lots of white space should do it)
>what _they_ mean by those words......

I want to make one suggestion. Do not try to systemise all the inputs into
one whole, one for Mission and one for Vision. Rather try to coach them
into letting all the inputs mix so that they can react. I know that this
"mixing for reaction" is most dangerous. But I have attented a number of
sessions in which each some facilitator tried to prevent this "mixing for
reaction" by rather trying systemise it all. Each such a session fell flat
on its face. Nobody felt afterwards responsible for the Mission and
commited to the Vision.

This "mixing for reaction" is crucial for what you write as

>[until the .....] concepts are sufficiently coherent
>and consistent, it may be more effective to go with
>their definitions and focus on the work rather that
>debating the definitions _in that organization_.

The "mixing for reaction" and "debating the definitions" are as far
different from each other as the east from the west. However, this is such
a lengthy issue (which involves all the 7Es) that I do not want to go into
it now.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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