Mission vs. Vision LO26832

From: Bill Harris (bill_harris@facilitatedsystems.com)
Date: 06/20/01

Replying to LO26830 --

AM de Lange wrote:

> 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

Ah, the advantage of email correspondence--if I perchance offend, you'll
forget my name and not know my face. :-) :-)

> minutes of face to face dialogue with that person. It is because
> the face tells me far more than a name.

If I may be so bold as to interpret, you may be saying you'll recognize
what someone is talking about when they describe their mission (the
"face"), but you may have problems when they talk about creating their
mission statement (the "name"). On people and on concepts, I think the
nametags help us have handles to refer to people/concepts (and, in the
case of people, perchance to show them some--at least superficial--respect
by using their names; concepts are far less picky about such things).

I suspect that labels which identify can be useful (it's more efficient to
say, "Hello, At," than to say "Hello to the tall guy in the corner with
the green shirt--no, not you, the one next to the woman in the
purple--yes, you, hello").

Labels which categorize can be useful, but they can also be limiting and
confusing. For example, there's the old one of the mysterious platypus
which confuses as to what it is solely because of the
labeling/categorization mechanism many use; it's supposedly largely
unconfused itself. There are also all the national stereotypes that have
existed in the past and continue to exist.

And, like the platypus, labels are largely ignorant of how they're being
used. So, a label originally intended to identify may end up categorizing
and then even limiting or confusing. Thus talk about "mission
statements," while intended to delimit and identify, may confuse.

(I think this is consistent with the common OD wisdom that says to talk
generally at low levels of inference.)

So, at least for me, having a "name tag" that says, "In this organization
and situation, _this_ is what we call a mission [or vision or ...]" helps,
but then I prefer to concentrate on the heart of the concept (the face)
and not the name.

What you've done, At, in your usual clarifying way, is to remind us that,
like Jack and Jill, vision and mission are in some senses complementary.
It's not so important, perhaps, that we call them by prescribed names but
that we recognize their complementary nature and the importance of such
complementarity (?) in what we're doing.
> 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.

Nor I, this morning, but you've touched on an important topic. Thanks.


Bill Harris                                  3217 102nd Place SE
Facilitated Systems                          Everett, WA 98208 USA
http://facilitatedsystems.com/               phone: +1 425 337-5541

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