Mapping Effective Covid-19 Engagement: Four Responses to the Challenge
First, any statement of vision must be created and sustained by an entire social system—not just its leader(s). Collaboration is just as important when formulating a vision, as it is when assembling an army as a courageous Ruby Red leader. Second, the vision statement must be offered within a context of appreciation for past accomplishments and present-day contributions. All too often the visionary Azure Blue leader (especially if new to this role) will ignore or offer a critical perspective on past achievements rather than honoring these achievements and seeking to learn from them. We must always remember that someday (perhaps in the near future), we will be the relics of the past and may be overlooked by the next generation. It is not just the wise Golden Yellow leader who often feels devalued by the next generation—it is also the visionary Azure Blue leader who holds a vision that is now out-of-date and whose accomplishments on behalf of this vision are no longer fully appreciated.
Third, the statement of vision must be coupled with a statement of mission. Whenever an Azure Blue leader creates a vision of the future, it must be coupled with a clear commitment to something that is not about the future, or even exclusively about the present. It must be coupled with an enduring sense of mission. What do we do as a family, clan, organization, community or social system that remains fundamental and unchanged? What do we do that is key to our survival? We must always look toward the future and toward change through the lens of foundations and continuity. What is our “business” and how does our vision for the future relate to this business?
The fourth criterion concerns the relationship between vision and values. How does our vision of the future relate to the fundamental values of our family, clan, organization, community, or social system? What will and what won’t we do to realize our dream for the future? Lincoln’s statement of gratitude for the sacrifice made at Gettysburg is based on his firm commitment to preservation of the union. Similarly, Martin Luther King not only offered us a dream, he also insisted that this dream be realized through a set of values based on nonviolence. The “ends” (vision) never justify the use of inappropriate or unethical “means” (values).
Fifth, the vision statement should relate to some formally identified sense of purpose: what difference does our family, clan, organization, community, or social system make in the life of people living in this community, country or world? What social purpose are we serving and how does this purpose relate to our vision of the future? Our vision can be self-serving or even profoundly destructive regarding social purpose (as in the case of Hitler’s vision). It is important that vision be aligned with a fundamental social purpose.