Common vision

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Our vision is to see all of our world's inhabitants governing ourselves with an open, accessible and understandable global system which has as its bottom line the common good, and which we define and operate ourselves by effectively utilising and allocating our common expertise and resource.
One way of deriving a group is from how people answer a specific set of questions. Even if the "members" of such a group don't appear on any list, are not stored anywhere or never communicated their answers to anyone, the group still exists in a certain sense if it exhibits the potential for action. Here at OrganicDesign we call this kind of "non-explicit" group an organic group, as distinct from a trust group which is one whose members are known to one another.

One such question is, if you were performing a particular task, would you like to know if anyone anywhere else performing the same task had a better way of doing it? Another related question is, would you like to live in a world where all such "best ways" were made openly accessible to and easily understandable by everyone? An overwhelming majority would answer "yes" to the first question. The second though is one that many people would think about more deeply before answering and may answer "no".

The people who share the common vision we talk about here at OrganicDesign are those that answer "yes" to both of the previous questions. We don't know how many people that is, but judging from the popularity of the free software movement and other similar projects, we can be very sure that even if it's not a global majority it's certainly hundreds of millions of people world-wide!

That's an enormous potential for action, but how does an organic group like this begin to achieve anything together? We believe the answer lies in alignment...

The concepts involved in the vision statement

Everything undergoes change over time including our own vision, so we need to ensure that it evolves in a way that stays true to its original purpose by defining clearly the concepts and its bottom line. The statement includes the following concepts.

Common vision: This aspect can improve in two ways since it's composed of two concepts, "common" and "vision". The first concept improves by increasing how many inhabitants the vision is in common with. Vision improves by increasing clarity, objectivity and detail.

Effectively utilising our common expertise and resource We already have a huge amount of knowledge, tools and resources available for this common vision, all we're missing is the ability to tie these diverse things together into an aligned common purpose.

Defining and operating our system together We need to make our knowledge, tools and resources available in a common language so that the diverse systems we use can work with them together.

General meaning of "common vision"

We define a common vision as a set of statements made about the future which all the members of an organisation are working together to achieve (i.e. they're all aligned with the vision). Vision statements are generally written in the first-person context and should cover various aspects of the day-to-day operations such as role, leisure activities and resource availability. Sometimes they may involve describing imaginary events or scenarios to aid in defining how procedures should be carried out or disagreements resolved, often a vision may be written in the form of "a day in the life".

Vision is at the root

In terms of the unified ontology, a nodes vision is always it's root node because the root is defined as being everything that's common across all within, and all within are defined by how they differ from that above which they inherit from. Another way of saying this is that instances are specialised versions of the classes they're based on, and classes are generalisations of all their instances.

Robertson's "Natural Order"

Robertson, describes (p. 394-5) the natural order as follows (links to equivalent concepts by us added in brackets):

Such a conception of society follows the natural order. In it the dominating power of finance is destroyed; and since money would be free and not negative, debt would cease to exist. And with the disappearance of the debt would cease the centralisation of power which at present deprives men of their sovereignty. In it also consumption would determine production, and a united social policy would prevail without arbitrary pressure from any quarter. The confusion of ends and means would cease since the end of man (the bottom line to maximise the well being of the environment and all inhabitants) would be truly served. Leisure would become the test of efficiency in industry, the fewness of laws the test in politics, and the smaller the Administration and Sanctions the greater the excellence of government (our self governance). The criterion of all would be the security with freedom.

The seven mechanisms constitute the organism of society serving integral man by fullest and freest provision for all his needs, and thereby the prevailing pressure would be towards co-operation and unity rather than competition and disunity (fragmentation).

[...]

The expansion of the individuality through the natural order would be achieved by organic growth from within and not by planning imposed from without. It would provide the one and only basis for stability in society. And just as unity is not uniformity, neither is stability stagnation. A stable society is not static but one steadily progressing towards its objective (vision).

[...]

The aim of society is to provide a field for the perfecting of individual existence, which it does by the provision of the Basic Needs through co-operative effort and differentiation of function, and by creating a suitable field for the exercise of the higher human faculties.

Building Shared Vision (from The Fifth Discipline)

"In effect, the visioning process is a special type of enquiry process. It is an enquiry into the future we truly seek to create." (Senge, 1994, p. 228)

Genuine shared vision gives members of a group a sense of being part of something larger and can inspire them to extraordinary personal growth and creativity in the pursuit of this vision. Everyone is familiar with how Kennedy's vision to have a man on the moon within a decade inspired a nation to do something extraordinary. Senge further presents us with the notion of governing ideas that a vision is embedded within:

Anchoring Vision in a set of Governing Ideas

Building shared vision is actually only one piece of a larger activity: developing the "governing ideas" for the enterprise, its vision, purpose or mission, and core values. A vision not consistent with values people live by day-to-day will not only fail to inspire genuine enthusiasm, it will often foster outright cynicism. These governing ideas answer three critical questions: "What?" "Why?" and "How?"

  • Vision is the "What?" - the picture of the future we seek to create.
  • Purpose (or "Mission") is the "Why?" the organisation's answer to the question, "Why do we exist?" Great organisations have a larger sense of purpose that transcends providing for the needs of shareholders and employees. They seek to contribute to the world in some unique way, to add a distinctive source of value.
  • Core values answer the question "How do we want to act, consistent with our mission, along the path to achieving our vision?" A company's values might include integrity, openness, honesty, freedom, equal opportunity, leanness, merit, or loyalty. They describe how the company wants life to be on a day-to-day basis, while pursuing the vision.

Taken as a unit, all three governing ideas answer the question, "What do we believe in?". When Matsushita employees recite the company creed: "To recognise our responsibility as industrialists, to foster progress, to promote the general welfare of society, and to devote ourselves to the further development of world culture, they're describing the company purpose. When they sing the company song, about "sending our goods to the people of the world, endlessly and continuously, like water gushing from a fountain," they're proclaiming the corporate vision. And when they go to in-house training programs that cover such topics as "fairness," "harmony and cooperation," "struggle for betterment," "courtesy and humility," and "gratitude," the employees are learning the company's deliberately constructed values (Matsushita, in fact, calls them its "spiritual values") (Quoted from Senge, 1994, p 223)

Shared vision rests on the foundation of the personal mastery discipline, which results in members developing their personal vision. Genuine shared vision can arise when people can discuss and compare their own personal visions to see what the overlap, the common ground is. From this a shared vision can be distilled, which serves as a unifying and inspiring force in an organisation.

Senge (p. 226) states that the principle of creative tension applies in the realm of organisational shared vision just as much as it applies to the area of personal mastery, that is, an organisation needs to foster a commitment to seeing current reality clearly, which, when contrasted with the shared vision, gives rise to creative tension within the organisation.

When it comes to the link between shared vision and systems thinking, the first thing to note is that building shared vision is a continuous process and requires leaders who can foster this process and are able to allow a diversity of views to emerge without letting conflicting visions polarise the organisation. Key is their ability to harmonise diversity and continually redefine the common ground, thus clarifying the shared vision further. Senge (p. 228) suggests we apply the reflection and enquiry skills discussed under the mental models section to deal with this challenge.

There is also a risk to shared vision that can arise from the discouragement members experience when they see the gap between the shared vision and current reality in the organisation. This problem can arise when the members lack an ability to hold creative tension, which can be addressed by encouraging personal mastery within the organisation. Apart from this, the stress and time demands of what is going on in the organisation may take away time from building shared vision, which will let the focus on the vision decline. The solution lies in making time for the vision and spending less time fighting crises. This relates to Covey's four quadrant model, whereby time spent building shared vision falls into those important but non-urgent quadrant II activities one should spend the most time doing, however the important and non-important, urgent quadrant III and IV activities tend to distract from these.

Senge concludes the shared vision section by emphasising the importance of the belief amongst stakeholders that they can change their reality and can take steps to help bring about the shared vision, in other words, whether they are systems thinkers. People who see themselves as victims reacting to change will soon become cynical about a shared vision. Systems thinkers keep learning more about how the existing behaviours and policies are creating current reality and can therefore see how they might be able to change them to create the positive future they desire.

Notes to merge from OD vision

Our vision is to see the world, its inhabitants, and resources governed by a global unified system which has the maximum peace and well-being of all inhabitants and the environment as its bottom line. This system evolves toward ever closer alignment with its bottom line by its architecture being open and by providing the ability for people to independently modify any aspect of it and assess the value of those modifications with respect to its bottom line.

Full openness includes maximising the accessibility and understanding of the relevant information and concepts. Combining this principle with the ability to change any aspect and the procedures to test how aligned a system is with the vision and values allows us to govern ourselves as a planet for more effectively by applying the vast spectrum of available knowledge and expertise toward the achieving the vision in an objective and unbiased way.

Self governance: When a trust group collaborate on their shared vision and work together to actualise it in alignment with their defined values, they need to have methods and tools available for making decisions together, resolving conflicts and managing resources in their system. Self governance is the ability for a trust group to do these things without requiring any external parties, and in general, is how a group's system can undergo change in response to feedback from its members and stakeholders and from changes in the environment it operates within. The manifesto to which OrganicDesign is aligned follows the bottom-up principle that organisation at the global scale is achieved by organisation beginning with individuals and local regions, rather than being determined from larger centralised institutions downwards. From this global context, self-governance in alignment with the values allows the best known options to be found and selected for all aspects of the social mechanism. This is achieved by making more effective, unhindered use of the totality of available knowledge and expertise. [more]


Platform

A suite of free, customisable software applications that can run on any computer in any language. What this means in practice: Download a software package or burn a DVD ROM that can be installed on any computer, which includes a continually-updated operating system, email, office and collaboration software.

A portal to a network of people to communicate, do business and debate matters of governance. What this means in practice: Being able to select a legal and financial framework in alignmen=== Robertson's "Natural Order" === Robertson, describes (p. 394-5) the natural order as follows (links to equivalent concepts added in brackets):

Such a conception of society follows the natural order. In it the dominating power of finance is destroyed; and since money would be free and not negative, debt would cease to exist. And with the disappearance of the debt would cease the centralisation of power which at present deprives men of their sovereignty. In it also consumption would determine production, and a united social policy would prevail without arbitrary pressure from any quarter. The confusion of ends and means would cease since the end of man (the bottom line to maximise the well being of the environment and all inhabitants) would be truly served. Leisure would become the test of efficiency in industry, the fewness of laws the test in politics, and the smaller the Administration and Sanctions the greater the excellence of government (our self governance). The criterion of all would be the security with freedom.

The seven mechanisms constitute the organism of society serving integral man by fullest and freest provision for all his needs, and thereby the prevailing pressure would be towards co-operation and unity rather than competition and disunity (fragmentation)."

[...]

The expansion of the individuality through the natural order would be achieved by organic growth from within and not by planning imposed from without. It would provide the one and only basis for stability in society. And just as unity is not uniformity, neither is stability stagnation. A stable society is not static but one steadily progressing towards its objective (vision).

[...]

The aim of society is to provide a field for the perfecting of individual existence, which it does by the provision of the Basic Needs through co-operative effort and differentiation of function, and by creating a suitable field for the exercise of the higher human faculties. t with your values, to pursue your goals within, with the ability to question and change any aspect and to connect with peers who abide by the same governance.

A turn-key organisation based on continually updated, proven best practices for personal organisation and setting up businesses. What this means in practice: Fill in a number of electronic forms to set up your personal and business goals, projects and manage resources.

See also