Mapping Effective Covid-19 Engagement: Four Responses to the Challenge
Thus, while a vision statement will change over time, the mission, values and social purposes tend not to change, or they change very slowly. While the vision is the wind in the sails that propels a vessel, the mission, values and social purposes provide the anchor, keel and rudder that keep the ship properly aligned. Furthermore, even though a compelling vision statement may come out of the mouth of a visionary leader, it ultimately requires collaboration and appreciation that is collective if the vision is to be truly owned by those who must enact this vision. I propose that a vision statement regarding our specific society during the era of COVID-19 must be founded in a collective reaffirmation of sustaining mission, values, and social purposes. Whatever be the nation in which we live, we must be reminded of what makes our specific society special and worth sustaining: ultimately the key COVID-10 question concerns the quality of society that is maintained and that remains in place following the end of this COVID era (Bergquist, 2020).
Two fundamental recommendations for our contemporary COVID-19 leaders can be extracted from these five criteria. First, the vision statement should be offered alongside clearly articulated statements regarding mission, values, and purposes. Preferably, vision, mission, values and purposes should be tightly interwoven and articulated in an organizational, community, national or international charter (such as we find among the founding documents of the United Nations charter) (Bergquist 2003). Modifications in one of these four elements will inevitably impact on the other three.
Second, the vision itself should build on many conversations—the collective sharing of stories (not just the visionary leader’s stories) and the collective identification of moments of “greatness” in the past history and present realities of the organization, community or society. The narratives should, in other words, be appreciative in nature. Though the appreciative narrative we discover and reinforce the distinctive strengths and resources that reside in our communities. Through these narratives we arrive at a collective truth that can guide us into our future (a Golden Yellow strategy). Visions come alive and help guide our collective actions (a Ruby Red strategy) when they are aligned with both of these basic recommendations.