Developing Visioning Tracks

In highly inclusive environments, initiatives and projects will often include a combination of individuals who lack a material understanding of all the dimensions of what is being considered as well as those who simply want to contemplate and discuss things but have little impulse to do much more. The initial education of these individuals serves a useful purpose as initiatives get underway, helping the larger collective learn various dimensions of the problems or opportunities under discussion. The time comes however when action is required, and these same individuals and their desire to continue to 'understand' and 'evaluate' become roadblocks to progress.

Acknowledging that some may never truly be comfortable participating in a decision, efforts may need a separate track or work-stream for these individuals so that they can continue contemplation while others move forward with execution activities. The goal of the visioning track is to essentially provide individuals with a distinct role which serves the dual purpose of continuing visioning but also takes them out of the hair of individuals trying to move forward with getting something done in the nearer term. One working group leader for example, after her group focused on updating policies failed to make progress after several months, developed a ‘road show’ activity for a member who kept arguing heatedly with other members at every meeting. Once this member was deployed on a cross-country effort to spread the word, the group began to make immediate progress towards publishing revised policies. In another organization, several members of a working group who slowed every meeting to a crawl with endless philosophical questions were tasked with creating background and informational content to support the effort which required a separate set of meetings focused on that activity. The frequency of the group’s main meetings requiring their attendance was then reduced.

By acknowledging that some individuals will simply be drawn to continuous contemplation, giving them the ability to spend their time on visioning as long as they desire without attempting to force its conclusion will enable others to move forward at an accelerated pace with the execution of identified opportunities.